Character-in-Chief: Barack Obama and his Pop Culture Predecessors

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Contribution to Books

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At some point during the 2008 presidential election between Barack Obama and John McCain, it became fashionable for various journalists and essayists to craft articles on the notion that the genesis of now-President Obama's success was owed not to the Illinois Democrat's impressive 2004 DNC convention speech but rather to a handful of African American actors that had come before him. In particular, writers credited figures like Bill Cosby, Morgan Freeman, and Sidney Poitier with preparing broad swathes of the white electorate to imagine black executive leadership as not only possible but also positive. Actor Dennis Haysbert further gave voice to this position, arguing that his own work portraying a black president in the hit television program 24 was instrumental in Obama's election.

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