African Americans Reflect On Barack Obama's Presidency

January 10, 2017

People inside Mattapan’s Finest barbershop prepare for a bittersweet goodbye to the commander and chief who made history 8 years ago.

“Folks came out of the nursing homes people came we were inspired we stood in line he gave us a sense of hope.”

“ I was happy to see somebody like me in the presidency finally.”

“Beautiful wife beautiful family, he’s great, he’s great.”

Not everyone was convinced the country was ready at the time, neither was Jamie Mitchell,

“ I didn’t think we would get a black president so soon it was surprising.”

After the president took the oath of office. Ashley Hudson was hopeful,

“I knew he was going to make changes…very good changes for us in the community…especially people who have low income.”

President Obama pushed for healthcare reform with a bill that bears his name, Jamie Mitchell was excited,

“The health insurance situation you know everybody was able to get health insurance.”

President Obama also created protection for children of undocumented immigrants through DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, that was important to Shembu Jalloh of Dorchester.

“It’s a good legacy that changed a lot of people like me a foreigner that came here from West Africa I feel I have hope.”

The President has faced tough critics to his policies and has even seen his favorability drop to under 40 percent during his time in office, but that doesn’t seem to matter to people at the barbershop like Christine Bond,

“The legacy is one of a person that was a gentleman and a scholar a coalition builder someone who was thoughtful someone who included the entire United States of America and the world.”

President Obama stressed he was the president for all Americans but there was a special power when he stood with African Americans during shootings of unarmed black men like Trayvon Martin –who was shot and killed in Florida. The President even saying publicly if he had a son he would look like Trayvon. That statement impressed Jamie Mitchell,

“That took a lot for a president to come out and say that.”

People we spoke to wanted to see the president do more and were disappointed he couldn’t, Christine Bond believes he didn’t have support

“He had the support of congress and the senate and didn’t have all those people that met on inauguration night while we were celebrating him and all of them worked for the united states and the people of America his legacy could’ve been even more.”

But all appreciate what he accomplished.


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