Obama's 'Lyrical' Letters to Girlfriend Made Public

Letters from young Obama show a man trying to find his way
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 19, 2017 1:45 PM CDT
'Very Poetic' Letters Obama Sent to Girlfriend Made Public
This image shows letters sent by future President Barack Obama to his college girlfriend Alexandra McNear and held by Emory University's Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library in Atlanta. The university is making the letters available to researchers on Oct. 19, 2017.   (Ann Borden/Emory University via AP)

A young Barack Obama questioned his place in the world and his racial identity, agonized over whether he'd make enough money as a community organizer, and lamented his incompatibility with his ex-girlfriend in 30 pages of letters he wrote to her that are now being archived by Emory University in Atlanta, the AP reports. The nine full letters, sent by Obama to his college girlfriend, Alexandra McNear, are being made public to researchers. The university has had the letters since 2014 but could only make them public now, officials said. The letters span 1982 to 1984. During that time, Obama was at Columbia University in New York City, in Indonesia, and finally working at Business International Corporation in a job for which he had no passion

The letters give a peek into Obama's psyche as he sought out the path that would eventually land him in the White House, Emory University officials said Wednesday. "My ideas aren't as crystallized as they were while in school, but they have an immediacy and weight that may be more useful if and when I'm less observer and more participant," Obama wrote in 1984 to McNear. The "very lyrical, very poetic" letters will be useful to researchers trying to craft a picture of Obama the college student and recent graduate, Emory officials said. "They tell the journey of a young man who is seeking meaning and purpose in life and direction," said the director of Emory's Rose Library. Read excerpts from the Obama letters here.

(More Barack Obama stories.)

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