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African Americans in U.S. Foreign PolicyFrom the Era of Frederick Douglass to the Age of Obama$
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Linda Heywood, Allison Blakely, Charles Stith, and Joshua C. Yesnowitz

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038877

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038877.001.0001

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Obama, African Americans, and Africans

Obama, African Americans, and Africans

The Double Vision

(p.200) 9 Obama, African Americans, and Africans
African Americans in U.S. Foreign Policy

Ibrahim Sundiata

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines how the election (and reelection) of President Obama fits into the larger historical narrative that was the focus of earlier chapters. It asks: Has the Obama presidency represented fundamental change or, in many consequential ways, foreign policy continuity? More broadly, what does Obama mean for future African American interest in foreign affairs and the pursuit of diplomatic service? It argues that Obama's ascension to the presidency was a great step forward in United States race relations. African Americans entered into all levels of foreign policy apparatus. However, the contradictions between the bonds of ethnic solidarity and the demands of American foreign policy will persist. Obama presents a grand paradox—the accession of a “son of Africa” to the American presidency may well sound the death knell of traditional Pan-Africanism.

Keywords:   Barack Obama, African Americans, American foreign policy, diplomacy, diplomatic service, Pan-Africanism

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