Barack Obama is…

A lot of people have wondered whether the rumours are true...

What rumours? I hear you ask.

Well rumour has it that Barack Obama is NOT the first black president of the USA, he may actually be the SECOND!!!

I, for one, take everything I hear with a pinch of salt and in this instance a cupful! In order to fully understand these rumours and confirm their viability, a little research has been undertaken to establish a few facts, so here they are…

Now we're all accustomed to witnessing Barack Obama actually reside as the president of the United States of America over the past couple of months, we can now look back with retrospective humour and assess some of the claims brought about by the furore of this historical achievement.

There is a school of thought that seriously contends that Barack Obama is not the first, but the second black president of the USA, according to Alexander Wilson’s website,

Now the name being banded around is one John Hanson.

Who is John Hanson? I hear you ask.

Well, in 1781, John Hanson was unanimously chosen by Congress (which included George Washington) to lead as President of the United States in Congress Assembled (as the USA was known before the now known Constitution was formed).

Those who believe that John Hanson (13 April 1715 – 22 November 1883) was black, refer to genealogical records that verify that his grandfather, also named John Hanson, was a slave who bought his freedom.

There are two explanations available for the genealogical case. The first confirms that John Hanson's grandfather was in fact an early English immigrant to Maryland who worked as an indentured servant on his arrival in the "New World". His first master, William Plumely, sold his contract in 1661 to Edward Keene and recorded the contract with the court of Calvert County, Maryland. Similar court records were also used to transfer title to land and slaves. It is claimed that John Hanson senior's indentured servitude was possibly confused with the chattel slavery existing at the time.

So, why the confusion on John Hanson senior's ethnicity? It is true that by the mid-17th century there were many people of different ethnic backgrounds chartering the seas to the USA, so it may be probable that John Hanson senior was of a mixed background. In my opinion this explanation is ordinarily believable, but not conclusive, there must be some conclusive evidence existing to confirm or dismiss these rumours and so far the whole question of John Hanson's ethnicity is, quite frankly, in the air!

To make matters even more intriguing, the body of the late President John Hanson has gone missing, according to Alexander Wilson…

The other explanation was that there may be a simple case of confusion with Senator John Hanson, a politician from Liberia, who was involved with the resettlement of freed slaves in that country after the death of former President John Hanson.

As it happens, the image of Senator John Hanson (who lived some 100 years later) has been used to support the claim that John Hanson of c.1777 was a black man, so this error kind of blows this theory out of the water!

It has also been claimed that the engraving on the back of the US $2 bill shows an image of a man who has dark skin sitting at the table to the left of a man standing in the centre of the engraving during the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

This theory has been rebuffed by some who state that the image is based on the painting "The Signing of the Declaration of Independence" by John Trumbull in which the man many assumed to be black was in fact Robert Morris of Pennsylvania, who was white. It has been contended that because of the detail in the engraving process and large concentrations of ink, the printed impressions appear to be shaded resulting in the interpretation that the figure was that of a black person.

So there you have it! Whatever the case, one thing is sure, the ethnicity of the current president of the USA cannot be doubted. Rather than speculate on dubious rumours, Afristoricals always keeps it real.

In terms of political achievement in the 17th century, we can be sure of the great achievements from the likes of Olaudah Equiqano, Quobna Ottobah Cugano or Queen Nzinga to name a few!

You can learn more about Black Political Power Players when you get your 2009 Afristorical Wall Calendar, available NOW at

So, in answer to the question – is Barack Obama the first black president – the answer can only be INCONCLUSIVE!

So well have the distortions and misrepresentations of history been, it seems we may never know the real truth, but the fact that the late John Hanson's body has gone missing (which would clear up any ambiguity entirely) leads one to continue to speculate that perhaps the blackness of John Hanson the late President of the United States in Congress is not such a myth after all…

What we can say for certain is that we sure do have a black president now!:-)

For more information on John Hanson, I've listed a few links below.

Hope you found this article interesting and please look out for the next one, which will reveal the true history behind the war in Sudan!

"It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are today, but we have just begun. Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today."

President Barack Hussein Obama

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