As the world watched Donald Trump take the oath as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, I traveled across the city where the 44th, Barack Obama, left his mark—literally and figuratively. Photos, murals, and other images of Barack, Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha linger in storefronts in Hyde Park and pop up on buildings and viaducts in Bronzeville, Garfield Park, and Rogers Park.
For me, Obama’s legacy is complicated and not flawless. But I also understand the gravity and thrill of being able to recognize myself and my own relatives in the family that, for the past eight years, occupied the nation’s highest seat of power. What for so long seemed impossible became reality—and almost, but never quite, mundane.
While the Trump administration seems intent on quickly reversing much of the progress of the Obama years, one thing is clear: in Chicago, at least, America’s first black president endures.