A Head of State, and a Boy’s Touching Request

In today’s New York Times, there’s a picture and a story that is not to be missed. In the picture, President Obama looks to be bowing before a little boy visiting the Oval Office. The little boy is reaching out to touch the President’s hair to see if it’s like his. From the report:

The boy in the picture is Jacob Philadelphia of Columbia, Md. Three years ago this month, his father, Carlton, a former Marine, was leaving the White House staff after a two-year stint on the National Security Council that began in the Bush administration. As departing staff members often do, Mr. Philadelphia asked for a family photograph with Mr. Obama.

When the pictures were taken and the family was about to leave, Mr. Philadelphia told Mr. Obama that his sons each had a question. In interviews, he and his wife, Rosean, said they did not know what the boys would ask. The White House photographer, Pete Souza, was surprised too, as the photo’s awkward composition attests: The parents’ heads are cut off, Jacob’s arm obscures his face, and his older brother, Isaac, is blurry.

Jacob spoke first.

“I want to know if my hair is just like yours,” he told Mr. Obama, so quietly that the president asked him to speak again.

Jacob did, and Mr. Obama replied, “Why don’t you touch it and see for yourself?” He brought his head level with Jacob, who hesitated.

“Touch it, dude!” Mr. Obama said.

As Jacob patted the presidential crown, Mr. Souza snapped.

“So, what do you think?” Mr. Obama asked.

“Yes, it does feel the same,” Jacob said.

Read the rest here.

(HT: @AlbertMohler)


  • Dwight McKissic


    Thanks for highlighting this article. I was unaware of this story. President Obama will be appreciated and remembered for many positive things. He will also be reviled and remembered for some not-so-positive things. At the end of the day this article and picture may sum up his greatest contribution: his presidency says to every child of color, disadvantaged person, or female–becoming President of the United States–is a real possibility, or attainable goal in the 21st century for any American. And on this Memorial Day, I salute America and all her soldiers who sacrificed their lives so that a little Black boy could pat the President’s head and realize that becoming the POTUS is within his reach, because his hair feels just like President Obama’s.


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