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Father’s Day can be a time for family reunions and joy—or also a day of sorrow or regret depending on your relationship with your father.

We imagine for President Barack Obama the day is bittersweet as he reflects upon his own fatherhood and the missing father figure from his life.

These wounds could reopen with the discovery of a Harlem based archivist. A historian stumbled upon gold at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture when he came across letters Barack Obama’s father wrote more than 50 years ago, The New York Times reports.

The words come from Barack Sr. who was a 22-year-old clerk, begging for financial aid to study in America.

“It has been my long cherished ambition to further my studies in America,” he wrote in 1958.

His goals brought him to the U.S. where he would eventually father the soon to be first Black president in the nation’s history.

In 2013, Barack Jr. was reportedly invited to see the letters, but the president has yet to respond. A White House official said Barack as just made aware of the letter recently and may be interested in their contents after his presidency.

The letters written from 1958 to 1964, may provide insight into his father’s upbringing and life from dust roads in Kenya to Harvard.

Given how open Barack has been about his father’s absence from his life, it’s probably for the best that he waits to read the letters until he is somewhat out of the public eye. The pain that can come from rehashing those stories is unpredictable.

“The papers are rich; they tell a fascinating, traditional, self-made man’s story,” said Khalil Gibran Muhammad, the director of the Schomburg Center. “There’s a reason to bear witness to the personal legacy that is here.”

We will be interested to hear what’s inside.


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In His Words: Barack Obama Waiting To Read Father’s Letters Until After Presidency  was originally published on

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