London Free Press, 7-27-08
McGill University history professor and presidential historian Gil Troy, who is spending the summer as a visiting scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, compares the cultural impact for African-Americans of Obama occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. to what John F. Kennedy’s arrival in the White House did for America’s Irish Catholics.
“The Kennedys’ moving into the White House in 1961 was a cultural bombshell. You had this beautiful, glamourous young couple with small adorable children plus the Kennedy mythology behind it. For Irish Catholics, it meant, ‘we made it.'”
For Obama, Troy says, that pride may be tempered by the weight of enormous expectations.
“There will be, as there always is, a downturn after the initial honeymoon, and it will be a test of the African-American community as to whether they can deal with him being treated like anybody else.”