Since President Barack Obama’s historic rise to the highest office in the land, he was immediately praised in the African-American community. Many Black Americans saw Obama as a history-making savior, crafting a mythic image of a man who never claimed to be more than human. Expectations skyrocketed and the cheers became jeers as some African Americans began to feel shunned and shut out from the White House’s policy advances in the last three and a half years.
Some talking heads from the left as well as Black public figures, such as Cornel West and Tavis Smiley, have increased their criticism of the President. While there is an almost rabid bloodlust present in Obama’s critics, which reeks of pettiness, there is very little mention of the policies and political strategies that the White House has put in place for African Americans since taking office.
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Critics point to the economy, the mortgage crisis, and other skyrocketing issues related to the nature of the global fabric of commerce – all issues that Obama has worked feverishly within his administration to address with a largely uncooperative Congress.
A detailed look at the White House’s list of accomplishments tailored toward the African-American community highlight that the Obama administration isn’t idle on many of our key issues. Through a variety of programs and measures, there exist several actions Obama has made to ensure African Americans have the same opportunities as others.
Obama’s Key Actions For Black America
In February of 2009, Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law to help address the country’s economic woes. As a result, $5 billion was doled out to programs, such as Head Start, Early Head Start, child care, and other related needs. The Obama administration also increased the number of Pell grants for college students, with an aim to significantly boost the number of grants by 2020.
Consequently, a 10-year, $2-billion investment from Obama serves to assist students who wish to attend HBCUs and other minority-focused institutions.
Watch President Obama sign an executive order to increase federal funding to HBCUs:
When Obama signed the Small Business Jobs Act in 2010, it funneled $12 billion geared toward small business owners looking to borrow funds to erect or improve existing businesses. The Minority Business Development Agency, also developed by the Obama administration, gained businesses contracts and lending opportunities, with $3 million granted over a two-year period.