The June 7, 2008, edition of the Washington Post included a piece titled The ‘Obama Before Obama,’ which highlights the life of 19th-century black leader John Mercer Langston and interviews William Cheek, co-author of the University of Illinois Press book John Mercer Langston and the Fight for Black Freedom, 1829-65.

“Langston was certainly capable of being president in the 19th century. But it’s not a long time if you understand how deep-seated racism is — from 1619 all the way to the present. Just bottomless racism. It’s too long for those of us who care, but I can understand it has taken this long.”

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