Local civil rights activist reflects on Obama's presidency

Then and now: A look at the Obama presidency

MINNEAPOLIS - As President Barack Obama gave his final address to the nation Tuesday night, Josie Johnson and her neighbors watched as intently as they did the night the election numbers rolled in eight years ago.

"I could hardly believe it,” she said about the 2008 election.

She was with friends that night too shocked that an African-American was elected president.

"It took a while to really accept the fact the numbers had come in and he was actually the president,” she recalled.

She was hopeful of what could be around the corner. But eight years later, she believes the country is more racially divided than it was before President Obama took office.

"And that’s the pity of it,” she said.

She doesn't blame Obama for that, like some of his critics do. Nor does she agree with some African-American leaders who believe Obama did not focus enough on black America. 

"The eight years were of great value to put us in a good place and we’ll have to see how deep that was etched in the fabric of America,” she said.

But she wanted the president to know how deep it was etched in her. So she wrote him a letter.

"I am an 86-year-old black woman who never thought I’d live long enough to see a black president of the United States of America,” she said while reading her letter.

While she is disappointed about the 2016 election and is concerned much of the Obama’s legacy will be wiped away, she still wrote about hope she has for her president and her country. 

"I am so proud of you Mr. President. And thank you for teaching your elder what is possible,” she read.

 

(© 2017 KARE)


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