Archivist Christine McKay discovered letters from President Obama’s father revealing the previously unknown history of the man who fathered the future President of the United States. There are almost a dozen including transcripts from the University of Hawaii and Harvard as well as references from professors and former friends.
Many of the letters are typed, while some are hand written, that depict Barack Hussein Obama Sr. as a 22 year old young Kenyan clerk. He appears frustrated with his place in life with a desire to expand his experiences in the United States.
President Obama’s father hoped to be a high ranking economist within the government of Kenya. He consistently pursued financial help and his academic studies took him to Harvard and the University of Hawaii. The letters brag of A’s and B’s and complaints of the high cost of living the United States.
The President will not touch the letters until he has left the Oval Office. The letters remain in the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York. The New York Times revealed the story.
In one letter he wrote,
“One would not know it is winter.”
“The cost of living is very high in Boston area (sic) here. In fact I am surprised that even a hamburger is 50 cents here, a thing I never experienced before.”
Obama Sr. met Ann Dunham at Harvard. But at no point in the letters does he ever mention marrying her. Neither does he mention the birth of his son, the future President, who was born in August 4th, 1961. He even leaves a grant application unfinished when he doesn’t add his marital status of number of dependents.
In 1963 immigration began looking into reports he had been married in Kenya – a ‘village wedding’ with no documentation according to Obama Jr’s memoir. One Harvard professor said,
“Mr. Obama is not among our best students, and his record to date leaves something to be desired. But his intelligence, initiative and dilligence boded well for him.”
He returned to Kenya later in the year with a Masters degree. But not the PhD he had hoped for. At that time the future President would still be an infant. A plausible conclusion is that he didn’t finish his PhD because he knew he had fathered a child out of wedlock and wanted to return to his home country before having to deal with the consequences of getting a woman pregnant. He died at the age of 46 in 1982.
In the President’s own memoir he recalls only meeting him a few times knowing him mostly through pictures and taking a few holiday pictures. But later preferring to only know him as a picture on the wall he could easily ignore when he wanted to.
The simple fact that the President himself doesn’t want to read the letters speaks for itself. Their must be more that the public does not know, that perhaps we should.