Obama and East St. Louis
The historic election of Barack Obama, cause for euphoria throughout the American black community, had special poignance in Illinois. Obama simultaneously served as a potent role model for black youth and formidable proof that racial barriers cannot prevent African Americans from succeeding. His entry to the Oval Office seemed eerily analogous to the rise of black mayors in industrial hubs such as East St. Louis, weakened by falling tax revenues, financial bankruptcy, declining infrastructure, and the dissolute practices of exiting white administrations. The charges of nepotism and corruption against the mayor are elaborated. The circumstances of East St. Louis provide an opportunity to reconsider the core values and direct attention to building equity and creating a just America.
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