Obama at the Million Man March

A few right-wing bloggers have begun buzzing over a 1995 Chicago Reader profile of Barack Obama in which the then Illinois State Senate candidate discussed his participation in the controversial Million Man March, convened by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

The 1995 march drew hundreds of thousands of black men to the National Mall in Washington — and caused a degree of consternation in the Jewish community. The Anti-Defamation League, while expressing support for the march’s goals, took out newspaper ads in advance of the gathering, saying it would be “the largest event led by an anti-Semite in recent American history.” Nevertheless, many prominent black leaders participated in the march, and it was endorsed by the Congressional Black Caucus (although the NAACP withheld its endorsement).

The Chicago Reader profile of Obama, which is now linked to on the alternative weekly’s home page, notes that the then-aspiring politico “took time off from attending campaign coffees” to attend the 1995 march:

The (old) news about Obama’s participation in the march is resurfacing as the Illinois senator attempts to move beyond the controversy over the inflammatory rhetoric of his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright (an admirer of Farrakhan). Ironically, however, the Chicago Reader article actually provides some support for one of the claims that Obama has made while trying to address Jewish anxieties about his candidacy — namely, that he has a record of speaking out against antisemitism in the black community (a point he made in response to a recent televised debate question about Farrakhan).

Indeed, way back in 1995, the young Obama told the Chicago Reader:

Read the full Chicago Reader profile here.

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