• Let's Take a Moment to Remember a Great African American Leader

    It's easy to get caught up in all the patriotic tawdriness and tawdry patriotism that — apparently — now accompanies the passing of power from one president to another.

    But, today is a special day for a whole other reason.

    Today is a day that we should be coming together to remember and pay homage to a man who did so much to grease the wheels for Barack Obama's presidency. A man who served our country honorably and valiantly and who ultimately gave his life for the greater good. A man for whom to simply call him a black leader would be an injustice. A man who — like so many other like him — was really so much more.

    I'm speaking, obviously, of President David Palmer from 24

    Barack Obama's victory in November demonstrated, to the surprise of many Americans and much of the world, that we were ready to see a black man as president. Of course, we had seen several black presidents already, not in the real White House but in the virtual America of movies and television. The presidencies of James Earl Jones in “The Man,” Morgan Freeman in “Deep Impact,” Chris Rock in “Head of State” and Dennis Haysbert in “24” helped us imagine Mr. Obama’s transformative breakthrough before it occurred. In a modest way, they also hastened its arrival…

    [I]n the past 50 years — or, to be precise, in the 47 years since Mr. Obama was born — black men in the movies have traveled from the ghetto to the boardroom, from supporting roles in kitchens, liveries and social-problem movies to the rarefied summit of the Hollywood A-list…

    The movies of the past half-century hardly prophesy the present moment, but they offer intriguing premonitions, quick-sketch pictures and sometimes richly realized portraits of black men grappling with issues of identity and the possibilities of power. They have helped write the prehistory of the Obama presidency.

    Oh, and I think it's also Martin Luther King Day today.

    Yeah, I guess that guy might have had something to do with this, too.


    Tags: Barack Obama, Martin Luther King

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