Video of Obama At Harvard Law Surfaces
Video of Barack Obama as a 30-year-old student at Harvard Law School has surfaced, and it has further highlighted the political divide in the US. The short clip of the future president speaking at a rally in support of faculty diversity has widely been seen as a non-event by liberals, and as part of a media conspiracy by conservatives.
The video from 1991 shows the young Obama praising the scholarship of Derrick Bell, a major but controversial figure even among liberal and minority legal scholars. An strong voice for change in the civil rights movement, Bell though faced accusations of being overly confrontational. Bell became both the first minority faculty member and the first tenured black faculty member at Harvard Law School in the late 60s and early 70s (in part due to student protests in his support). At the time of the video, decades later, Bell had renewed his protests, staging a hunger strike until the faculty hired a tenured woman of color.
Obama, then (the first black) president of the Harvard Law Review, was seen as the opposite in tone to Bell: conciliatory, not confrontational. Sources have said Obama was not active in the protest, but gave it a major boost just by appearing.
Website Buzzfeed accquired the video from WGBH Boston. In response, conservative site Breitbart.com released a slightly longer version showing Obama and Bell embracing, accusing the “liberal media” of showing an edited version. Breitbart’s Joel Pollak told CNN that this video was not the “bombshell” Andrew Breitbart spoke of just before his death, and that more investigations are forethcoming.
Here’s the video. I’m sure that this new material will inspire lots of reasonable discussions about the current state of race and justice in America, and objective assessments of the President. Haha, just kidding.