On January 20, 2009, Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States. He was the first African American to hold that office.


History.com. Black History Milestones

BarackObama.com. About President Barack Obama

Every four years on my birthday, our country inaugurates a president. In 2009 I was married with two young children. My political involvement consisted primarily of googling the candidates and choosing the one whose goals and ideals most closely matched my own. I was not so much amazed at a black man being elected president as I was wondering why it had taken so long to happen.


What memories do you have of this event? How did you and the people in your life feel about it?


5 thoughts on “Barack Obama Becomes the 44th US President

  1. Barack Obama’s first inauguration was a huge deal at the school where I teach. It was the first time I can recall an entire school stopping their day for a presidential inauguration. In addition to the historic nature of Obama’s presidency, our student body is about 80% black, making the event even more relevant to the students.

    We made plans ahead of time – the social studies department sent out lesson ideas and discussion questions, and every teacher without exception made plans to show the inauguration during class. A few days before it happened, we all got an email from downtown, urging schools to respect the feelings of students who didn’t want to participate in watching, or lessons concerning the inauguration. While I understood the need for that memo (we’re here to educate, not indoctrinate) it seemed inconceivable that a student would refuse to witness this. Some of our fellow staff members were outraged at the implication that we should accommodate opinions that they could only interpret as racism. Regardless, I don’t think we had any students who objected on the day, and it remains one of the most memorable days in my teaching career.


  2. What surprised me, in a very good way, was that there was so little objection to the inauguration based on the President’s race. While examples of racism were trumpeted in a controversy-loving media, it seemed to me, as a 40-year observer of American politics, that people accepted him: his clear victory after two election squeakers no doubt helped. I vote against him, but the inauguration was a day for pride.


  3. Barack Obama’s inauguration day is intricately tied to the wedding of my best friend from college. I’d been tapped to be a bride’s maid and my dress had arrived on the very day that Mr. Obama raised his right hand and became our first black president. So simultaneously I was admiring a gorgeous dress that I still wear to this day; thinking about my love for my friend; while glancing up at the TV and watching with equal joy this momentous occasion.
    Certainly one I’ll never forget!


  4. I was only in fourth grade when President Obama was inaugurated, and I didn’t understand much of why it was a big deal. But I do remember a friend of mine, a few years older than me, looking outside at the weather and shaking his head glumly. “This weather isn’t a good sign at all. This new president is going to ruin the United States”. Now, I don’t know how much of the controversy he understood either, and how much of it he was just basing off his parents, but that really struck me and for years going through elementary and middle school I had this notion in my mind that Obama was screwing up. It wasn’t really until I got more understanding of politics that I could see beyond that bias. But it is because of that friend that I remember so clearly watching the inauguration on TV in the cafeteria at school.


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