Barack Obama is not the nation’s first Black President Guess Who?


 Amidst America’s 39th annual recognition of Black History Month, an interesting revelation has arisen: Barack Obama is not the nation’s first Black President. A man by the name of John Hanson is said to have been America’s first documented president, contrary to popular belief that George Washington was the first man to hold this office. Prior to the creation of The United States Constitution, the nation’s original thirteen colonies created and ratified The Articles of Confederation
in 1781 under the jurisdiction of The Continental Congress. Many believe that John Hanson, an African American man, served as president during the time the document was drafted in 1781 until 1782. This claim has taken the Internet by storm, as any president serving before George Washington and the Constitution will not be found in your average history book. And to think that America, with its tumultuous but subtly glorified past, once elected a Black President 82 years prior to the abolishment of slavery would be mind-blowing! Some may argue that it is too good to be true. That’s because it is. There was, in fact, a black man named John Hanson who was a politician. However, he was NOT president of the United States and he served as senator in Liberia in the late 1800s. Another man, by the name of John Hanson, did indeed serve as President of the Continental Congress in the early 1780s but he was white. Even well-known activist Dick Gregory features an article on his website that further perpetuates this myth, claiming “a black man, a Moor, John Hanson was the first Black President of the United States”. The issue I have with this urban legend is the lack of thinking we’ve put into this claim. Would America appoint a black man as president during a time when blacks were not even considered human beings? If the first president was black, what does it do for us as a people today in so-called post-racial America? Why were slaves emancipated 8 decades and many presidents after a black man took office? These are the questions I have for those who adamantly believe that this is indeed our truth and that it has been hidden from us to askew the lines of our history. Perhaps the most revealing question is: why would a man with so much power leave generations of his people in physical and mental captivity?

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