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Ticket archives: A look at Barack Obama in blue jeans 18 years ago

November 19, 2008 |  6:24 am

A lot of people seem to think this Barack Obama fellow was first noticed when he spoke eloquently to the 2004 Democratic National Convention as a state senator wannabeing a U.S. senator.

But our LATimes.com blogging buddy Larry Harnisch has found fascinating proof that Obama was worthy of some note many years ago. Larry writes the Daily Mirror blog, a regular treasure trove of historical insights.

Before there was Michelle Obama, before there was Jeremiah Wright and David Axelrod, before there was William Ayers and Tony Rezko, there was Tammerlin Drummond.

She was a Times writer struck by the first black edYoung Barack Obama before he was president-elect or US Senator or state senatoritor of the Harvard Law Review. So she spent some time with him and wrote a long, revealing article about this 28-year-old pioneer that was published more than 18 years ago on March 19, 1990.

Larry has resurrected the piece from Times archives for its relevance today. It includes:

-- Stories Obama told Drummond about his father and grandfather, the first family member to leave the Kenyan tribal village and don Western clothing.

-- About the racial passbook his grandfather had to carry to be a cook for English families.

-- How the young Obama witnessed abject poverty living in Indonesia and how his mother made him take English lessons so he wouldn't forget it.

-- How after four years of community organizing in Chicago he went to Harvard Law School to learn how to use the political system to affect social change.

She also wrote about the concerns of some liberal students and other blacks at Harvard because Obama easily worked with more conservative students and included them instead of packing the law review with like-minded peers.

"Down the road," the article on Obama notes, "he plans to run for public office."

Guess so.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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