Barack Obama, CC ’83, became the first sitting president to visit Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater Thursday night. But in his second visit to Harlem since taking office, Obama was met by fierce protests.
The fundraising event was closed to press, but 125th Street was overflowing with supporters of the Occupy movement, members of political action committees, and local residents hoping to catch a glimpse of the president. Hundreds of people turned out, but the majority of them were there to protest—a potentially troubling sign for Obama, for whom Harlem should be a stronghold of support.
“I’m protesting Obama’s policies,” Gilbert Rosa said. “He’s just as crooked as anyone. They voted for him because he had pretty rhetoric. At the end of the day, you can have different players. But if you don’t change the game nothing is gonna happen.”
Obama carried 95 percent of the African-American vote in 2008, according to CNN exit polls. But the heavily black community which W. E. B. Du Bois and Hubert Harrison called home hardly seemed well-disposed to Obama Thursday night.