In an address to civil rights activists in Selma, Ala., a year ago, Barack Obama credited the Kennedy family with enabling his Kenyan father to study in the U.S., where he met and married Obama’s mother.
But the Obama campaign has now admitted that Obama erred in crediting the Kennedys.
In fact, Barack Obama Sr. came to the U.S. in September 1959 in an airlift of 81 Kenyan students, while the Kennedy contribution to the program that brought him here was not made until the following year, the Washington Post disclosed. [Editor's Note: See the video of Barack Obama's speech where he made the mistake - Click Here Now.]
In his Selma speech — which he echoed in another address at American University in January — the Democratic presidential candidate said “folks in the White House” around President Kennedy wanted to “win hearts and minds all across the world.”
Said Obama: “So the Kennedys decided, ‘We’re going to do an airlift. We’re going to go to Africa and start bringing young Africans over to this country and give them scholarships to study so they can learn what a wonderful country America is.’
“This young man named Barack Obama got one of those tickets and came over to this country. He met this woman whose great-great-great-great-grandfather had owned slaves … So they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born.”
The man who was actually responsible for the Kenyan airlift was Kenyan nationalist Tom Mboya, who came to the U.S. in 1959 and 1960 to raise money for the Kenyan study program.
At the time there was no university in Kenya, and the country was preparing for independence from Britain in 1963.
Mboya raised money from nearly 8,000 contributors, among them baseball star Jackie Robinson and actors Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier, according to the Post.
Obama Sr. was sent to the University of Hawaii. While in the state he met Kansas native Ann Dunham. They married, and Barack Jr. was born in August 1961.
Mboya did not approach the Kennedys until Obama was already studying in Hawaii. The Kennedy family contributed $100,000, and 256 more Kenyan students came to study in the U.S.
Obama also erred in his Selma speech when he mentioned the historic march in the Alabama city that marked a major milestone in the civil rights movement.
Discussing how his parents met, Obama said: “There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Alabama, because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Junior was born. So don’t tell me I don’t have a claim on Selma, Alabama.”
In fact, the Selma march occurred four years after Obama’s birth.
[Editor's Note: See the video of Barack Obama's speech where he made the mistake - Click Here Now.]
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