Barack Obama

From the President: Button Up

I was using my standard syllabus for my seminar in the poetry of Langston Hughes and Claude McKay during the fall 2008 election season. As serendipity would have it, the night Barack Obama won the presidency the poems my students were assigned to read included Hughes’s “Children’s Rhymes.” Here is the second stanza:

By what sends

the white kids

I ain’t sent:

I know I can’t

be President.

Warmer Climate for Labor

In January, President Obama signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009—the first law enacted under his administration and the first step toward thawing the chill that characterized the federal government’s relationship with labor during the Bush administration.

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