April 6, 2010
“Barack Obama is what comes at the end of that bridge in Selma.”
-Veteran congressman and civil-rights leader John Lewis
Obama’s election as the first African-American President came at the end of a personal journey that intersected with the history of race in American politics.
• What does it mean for America, 150 years since the commencement of the Civil War to have a black president?
• What was it about Obama that allowed him to break this barrier?
• Is Obama a symbol of how much the country has changed, or is he changing the country himself.
• What separated him, historically and personally, from generations of civil-rights leaders and other black politicians?
• How, as a writer and as a politician, did he go about making his personal story emblematic of the American story?
These are just some of the questions examined in The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama that will be explored in a discussion between David Remnick and Ta-Nehisi Coates.