A full-circle moment was recently sparked between Barack Obama and a high school graduate, who is a part of White House history.
Remember the young Black boy who touched Obama’s head in the Oval Office? Well, his name is Jacob Philadelphia, and the former president shared via Instagram that the two reconnected virtually ahead of his high school graduation.
Hair Like Mine
The story behind the shot is that in 2009 alongside his dad — former National Security Council staffer Carlton Philadelphia — the five-year-old at the time asked Obama “Is your hair like mine?”
The heartwarming photo, taken by his White House photographer Pete Souza, hung in the halls of the West Wing during his presidency. It was a special moment that reminded him of why he worked so hard to take office in the first place.
“I think this picture embodied one of the hopes that I had when I first started running for office,” he said in the video. “I remember telling Michelle and some of my staff that if I were to win, the day that I was sworn into office young people — particularly African American people of color, outsiders, folks who maybe didn’t always feel like they belonged — they’d look at themselves differently.”
He continued: “To see a person who looked like them in the Oval Office, it would speak to Black kids, Latino kids, gay kids, and young girls — how they could see the world open up for them.”
Fast forward to 13 years later, and Obama is now able to see the impact of his representation in Philadelphia’s future goals. On May 27, he will graduate from high school and will then go on to study political science at the University of Memphis.
“It is very wonderful to see representation in the government because if I get to see another Black man be at the top, be at the pinnacle, then I want to follow that lead,” Carlton shared.