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Defeating the Odds

John E. Harmon Sr. | 10/1/2015, 6 a.m.
This month’s column is for those individuals throughout our society that have experienced significant challenges in their lives, and it ...
John E. Harmon, Sr.

This month’s column is for those individuals throughout our society that have experienced significant challenges in their lives, and it seems that no matter what they have tried to pursue, success has been elusive. In recognition of those amongst us, or as a testament to their trials, I have compiled information of others that pressed through their adversity and attained their goal. It was Nelson Mandela, who said,” it seems impossible until it’s done.”

Beginning with Barack Obama, who lost his mother, did not have a relationship with his father and a year after completing college, took a job in Chicago as a community organizer at a salary of $13,000. In this capacity, he was afforded an opportunity to obtain first-hand knowledge of the daily experiences of low income people. Those whom shared stories about working a number of years in the steel mill and making decent wages to maintain their household, then a subsequent plant closing which changed their American Dream into an economic nightmare. Also, there were children whom attended schools with inadequate facilities or the conditions of the textbooks or lack thereof made it difficult for these young people to compete in the marketplace for viable career opportunities thus leaving them vulnerable to society pitfalls.

Those experiences witnessed by Barack Obama working three years as a community organizer, prompted him to return to college to obtain his Law Degree. Obama became a civil rights attorney and later won a successful bid and became a State Senator in Illinois. A few years later, he became the only Black United States Senator. Someone once said, “Great testimonies are the results of great tests.” It appeared that this young Senator was on track to one day make a great name for himself and in the process contribute greatly to his fellow man and country.

However, in 2008, upon his announcement for president in Springfield Illinois, many thought that he was one not to be taken seriously. If you recall, his announcement coincided with the “State of Black America” hosted by Tavis Smiley, and there was criticism of then Senator Obama, who could not attend this event which coincided with the date of his announcement. Many questioned how Mr. Obama could even give thought to seeking the highest office in America due to his short time as a US Senator and his community organizing experience. Many of the nations’ black leaders had publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton for president and were hard at work campaigning for her across the United States.

At the time, this situation, placed many blacks in a very uncomfortable position, being emotionally attached to both candidates, however, many gave Mrs. Clinton the edge due to her husband, former president Bill Clinton.

Subsequently, Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination and then the presidency. Today, with less than 500 days remaining in office, he has not only overcome a number of personal and professional challenges but has amassed an incredible legacy during his tenure as the Commander and Chief of the largest economy in the world. This story of the 44th President of the United States when put into perspective is not only phenomenal but can serve as motivation for anyone that is in pursuit of a dream and possesses the willingness to give it their all. To underscore the future legacy of President Obama, I have listed a few of his accomplishments: