The Barack Obama Presidential Library is definitely coming to Chicago. Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants a unified effort instead of scattered sources going after it and we miss it. Other cities vying are Hawaii and New York. The President loves Hawaii, it is where he spent his childhood years and he lived in New York as an undergraduate. These are all the right places for sentimental reasons. The University of Illinois is in the running simply because they are on the map. They will be considered only because they are in Chicago. The Mayor is absolutely correct in insisting on a unified effort. Certainly he will be an important factor in the money raise.
Chicago is the right place
Chicago is the place for the library without doubt. It is politically logical. This is where Barack Obama took political root. The South Side of Chicago is home for First Lady , Michelle, and this is where he is registered to vote. Chicago is home. End of story. Now, where should the library locate? Being considered is the old Michael Reese Hospital land on 31st Street. The land is vacant, clear and ready for construction. However, it would be a very expensive proposition. So I say no.
The University of Chicago is a good choice. It is where President and the First Lady had professional careers. The President taught Constitution Law at the University. Michelle worked at the Hospital, best friends Eric Whitaker has held executive position. Good friends, Valerie Jarrett and John Rogers have been board members. And the Obama girls attended Lab School. Political guru, David Axelrod, is now a faculty member. Good connections. And of course, The University of Chicago, has all the means in the world to raise the necessary funds to make it happen. With all of this said, it is not the best place for the library.
I hope Chicago State University receives the Obama Library. Here’s why. First of all this is the community where Obama was a “community organizer.” I think he is the only president who rose to the presidency tracked from the community. This location would give rise to the University status and stature on the world stage. The community that Obama worked for would positively change and benefit. The library could be an economic engine for the South Side where he worked as a community organizer and served as a State Senator. Secondly, the University established a library of Black State Legislators and the President should be added to the legacy with his presidential papers. Thirdly, The Obama Library, would be the first ever to be located on a Black University campus. The institution would strengthen and young people of Chicago would be inspired. The placement of the library on this site would be historical and inspirational. This is the hallmark of his two term presidency. What better legacy?
Politics will come in to play
The politics of the situation are clear. Marty Nesbitt, one of the President's best friends will chair the charge. Former Mayor Richard Daley would be a great addition to the library team. This will come down with Mayor Emanuel pulling for The University of Chicago and former President of the State Senate, Emile Jones, pushing for Chicago State. Both strong voices will be heard. There would be no President Obama had it not been for the initial political skill of Senator Jones. Much will be said about the University of Chicago’s capital raise versus Chicago State University. But raising money is easily negotiated. After all the President’s library is the President’s Library.
It would be so nice to see a unified effort behind Chicago State University.
Where do you think the President’s library should be?
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