Former US President Jacob congratulated Philadelphia on his high school graduation and recalled the viral photo from 2009 when a young boy touched his hair in the Oval Office.
Jacob Philadelphia is the son of a former White House employee. As is often the case for those leaving, Carlton, the child’s father, asked for a photo with the newly elected Barack Obama, in the presence of his two sons in particular. Five-year-old Jacob asked a question that surprised everyone at the time, beginning with the President of the United States himself: “Is your hair like mine?”
Barack Obama responded by prostrating himself in front of the little boy so that he could touch her. The image has gone viral. Thirteen years later, as little Jacob has grown up, their moments reappear.
In fact, Obama met Jacob again and shared a video of their meeting with him. The former President of the United States congratulated the teen on his high school graduation and talked to him about the 2009 exchange.
Five minute clip
This remote encounter begins with a question from the former US President who wonders if the boy remembers him. “I remember you telling me your hair would go gray next time,” he joked.
Throughout the five-minute video, Jacob explains how meeting the president in the Oval Office is one of the highlights of his life. During the exchange, Jacob Philadelphia also told Barack Obama of his intention to study political science at the University of Memphis.
“I think this photo embodies one of the hopes I had when I started running for office,” Obama said. And to add:
“I remember saying to Michelle (Obama) and some of my team members, ‘You know, I think if I was going to win, the day I swore an oath, young people, especially African Americans, people of color, strangers, in short, people who might not always feel a sense of belonging’ They’ll see themselves differently when they see someone who looks like them in the Oval Office. Latin kids, gay kids and little girls. They can see the world open up to them.”
If the little kid who was Jacob at the time might not realize the full extent of this meeting, in hindsight, he explains today, “It was a rather important moment in my life. If I saw another black man at the top, to be at that top, So I want to follow that path.”