‘obama’s young mother abroad’

NYT: The photograph (note: not the one above) showed the son, but my eye gravitated toward the mother. That first glimpse was surprising — the stout, pale-skinned woman in sturdy sandals, standing squarely a half-step ahead of the lithe, darker-skinned figure to her left. His elas­tic-band body bespoke discipline, even asceticism. Her form was well padded, territory ceded long ago to the pleasures of appetite and the forces of anatomical destiny. He had the studied casualness of a catalog model, in khakis, at home in the viewfinder. She met the camera head-on, dressed in hand-loomed textile dyed indigo, a silver earring half-hidden in the cascading curtain of her dark hair. She carried her chin a few degrees higher than most. His right hand rested on her shoulder, lightly. The photograph, taken on a Manhattan rooftop in August 1987 and e-mailed to me 20 years later, was a revelation and a puzzle. The man was Barack Obama at 26, the community organizer from Chicago on a visit to New York. The woman was Stanley Ann Dunham, his mother. It was impossible not to be struck by the similarities, and the dissimilarities, between them. It was impossible not to question the stereotype to which she had been expediently reduced: the white woman from Kansas……

Read the full article here

Thank you so much for the link Brezzdee, it’s magic!

40 Responses to “‘obama’s young mother abroad’”

  1. 1 CTGirl
    April 20, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Too cute for words! 🙂

    • 2 anniebella
      April 20, 2011 at 7:46 pm

      You are so right,CTGirl. That picture of our little pirate is adorable. I mean our future President is adorable.

  2. 3 collegekay
    April 20, 2011 at 10:51 am

    He’s so adorable. Loved the article!

  3. 4 LOL
    April 20, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Well now we know why he doesn’t want to release his birth certificate…he was born a pirate:)

  4. 7 ZeeUK
    April 20, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Oh, what a cute pirate the President made. Does Donald Trump and Sarah Palin know that the president used to be a pirate? They need to investigate because it can’t possibly be in America’s best interest to have a former cute pirate for a president. 🙂

  5. 8 collegekay
    April 20, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Over lunch, Barry, who was 9 at the time, sat at the dining table and listened intently but did not speak. When he asked to be excused, Ann directed him to ask the hostess for permission. Permission granted, he got down on the floor and played with Bryant’s son, who was 13 months old. After lunch, the group took a walk, with Barry running ahead. A flock of Indonesian children began lobbing rocks in his direction. They ducked behind a wall and shouted racial epithets. He seemed unfazed, dancing around as though playing dodge ball “with unseen players,” Bryant said. Ann did not react. Assuming she must not have understood the words, Bryant offered to intervene. “No, he’s O.K.,” Ann said. “He’s used to it.”


    Seems like he’s always faced hatred in his life. 😦

  6. 14 Me4obama
    April 20, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Just finished reading the article, what a strong, resilient, loving, caring woman and mother Ann Dunham was. That picture brought me so much joy and sadness at the same time.

  7. 15 meta
    April 20, 2011 at 11:16 am

    A very interesting article and likely an interesting book. Somehow there’s an odd veil of sadness the author presents but look at our President now. A fascinating person who is full of compassion. His life is really amazing. I really look forward to reading his books in the years ahead.

  8. 16 virginia
    April 20, 2011 at 11:26 am

    At first I thought the narrative below the picture was describing the picture. But it describes another picture, one I don’t think was shown with the linked Times article either. I don’t believe I’ve seen the picture the writer describes, but would like to see it. Most of the pictures I’ve seen of him with his mother, have been when he was a child, but very few of them together when he became an adult. Wonder why that picture isn’t with the linked article?

    • 17 hopefruit2
      April 20, 2011 at 11:29 am

      I think the author wants to relate the story as she perceives it, and by including the picture, the reader would be distracted by it instead of focusing on the author’s narrative. But, I too, would have LOVED to see the picture the author referenced.

    • 18 Nellcote
      April 20, 2011 at 3:12 pm

      It might be in the author’s book.

  9. 19 Me4obama
    April 20, 2011 at 11:26 am

    He looks so much like his mother now. Their facial structure is identical.

  10. 21 theboysisters
    April 20, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Me4obama – was about to post the same thing.

  11. 22 HZ
    April 20, 2011 at 11:36 am

    This is a very interesting article. I have ordered the book, so this is interesting to read this article. Our President is going to be just fine because of all of the sincere and good people who love him and support him. That is what President Obama live for. He is not a hater. He said his peace and moves on. Just like he did in the interview with the rude man from Texas.

  12. 23 kay360
    April 20, 2011 at 11:41 am

    This is one person’s comment on the NYT’s article:

    “First not white enough.
    Then not Asian enough.
    Followed by not Black enough.
    Now, not American enough.

    This says more about humanity, than it does about our President, who is apparently more human than most.”

    • 24 hopefruit2
      April 20, 2011 at 11:45 am


    • 26 anniebella
      April 20, 2011 at 12:20 pm

      I can’t help but repeat it as offend as I can,we have a darn good President in Barack H. Obama.

    • 27 Sue in Minnesota
      April 20, 2011 at 3:21 pm

      My tears are spilling. Lets continue to be positive forces in this world…..clearly the world is in desperate need of love and compassion, empathy and kindness. I am so glad that all of those attributes resonate in the people that collect here. So my gratitude to all.

      President Obama is truly an exceptional human being, as is Michelle. May God’s greatness be upon them always.

  13. 28 Jessica
    April 20, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    I see a lot of Stanley in Malia and a lot of Barack Sr. in Sasha. Those are definitely his kids, he has to claim them.

  14. 33 EDP4BHO
    April 20, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    While we tease nutjobs about proposing that Ann knew her son would run for president one day, thus she orchestrated his birth data, etc……Lol….ironically, the lessons she taught him and the life she exposed him to, indeed prepared him for the best possible role he could have played, and that is President Of the United States. In other words, he was tailored for such. I give so much credit and thanks to Ann and his grandparents.

  15. 34 Kels
    April 20, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    His mother looks so much like Malia in this picture.

  16. 35 Nellcote
    April 20, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    I liked that the article didn’t make his mother out to be a saint. Rather she was a remarkable human being with a social conscience ahead of her time. If that’s the tone of the book, I’d look foreward to reading it.

  17. 36 Nellcote
    April 20, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    And one of the things so offensive about the birther bs is how insulting it is to his dead mother. I expect the birthers arre going to hell for that one.

    • 37 Jessica
      April 20, 2011 at 5:07 pm

      To insinuate that a pregnant American teen flew all the way to Kenya to have her child in a village is the most ridiculous accusation ever

  18. 38 barb
    April 20, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Just the way Ann is holding her son in the picture above tells me alot. One thing we are absolutely sure of is that this is a touching loving family. It is fascinating to see all the complexity of President Obama’s upbringing. He learned the inportance of grace under pressure, slow to anger, manners of a true gentleman and a rich heritage of multicultural genetics and experiences.

    There are so many thoughts to take away from this article. He had the love of his mother who taught him not to have self pity or anger who got up early in the morning to teach him from American correspondance courses She understood he was intelligent and needed to prepare for his future esp. being of mixed race.

    His grandmother knew he needed to come back to America for the best education. A grandfather who took his grandson along with him, always with a smile and laughter.

    I have never been exposed to a more complex life than that of Barack Obama who soared through it all and flew to the top as the CIC of the US.

    I do hope that the book speaks of the accomplishments of his mother as the only woman in Indonesis accepted by male blacksmiths and allowed to work with them. Also, as the woman who is responsible for the development of a model of micofinance which is now the standard in Indonesia, a country that is a world leader in micro-credit systems.

    I really want to read this book and also Ann’s recently published one from Duke University. This is one accomplished family led by their mother considering Obama’s books along with Maya’s children books and their mother’s dissertation plus a future of books yet to come. Amazing.

  19. 39 Suzanne
    April 20, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Wonderful article! Thank you for posting it, Chipsticks. The little pirate is adorable then and now.

    There were many wonderful comments to this article. I especially liked this one:

    Ego Nemo
    Not far from here
    April 20th, 2011
    10:13 am
    Trade the Jakarta of the 1960s with with wild frontier of Indiana and Illinois of the 1820, and the story of Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln are incredibly similar.

    Both thought strange and different as children, both moved from place to place by their parents, both saved by caring women who insisted they get an education.

    And both the receiving end, while president, of an utter century-storm of lies, deceit, insults and damnable lies that they weathered with almost inhuman amounts of dignity and courage.

    and this one about his mother

    (quote) Lizrs
    St. Louis
    April 20th, 2011
    9:24 am
    She was a trail blazer for women, a remarkable woman alone in the world. I empathize and relate deeply to her early life. Not to sound trite, but this is a woman who was given lemons … not only did she choose to make lemonade, but she went on to make a lemon pie, lemon cookies, lemon curd, lemon sorbet and anything else that she could make. She was extraordinary. Not the sort, like many, to judge others, she went on to raise a president!

  20. 40 Betty's Girl
    April 20, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    I can’t wait to read the book. I mentioned this book on the board just last week. I find his family fascinating.

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