NEW YORK – In newly discovered letters, President Obama’s Kenyan father made no mention of his son, raising further doubt about the personal narrative that helped put Obama on a rapid path to the White House.
The New York Times published six letters from a collection of 24 written by Barack Hussein Obama Sr. that were discovered recently in an archives box at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.
The letters dated after Feb. 2, 1961 – the earliest date attributed to the Kenyan’s marriage to Ann Dunham – made no mention of Dunham or their son, the future president, which would have been to his advantage in his desperate effort, as the letters show, to obtain funding for his studies.
Barack Obama Jr.’s path to the White House began when he famously introduced himself to the world at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 as the product of an “improbable love” between a Kansas girl and a Kenyan goat herder.
Elsewhere, Obama has insisted that the love endured even when his father had to leave a wife and a 2-year-old child behind to pursue dreams at Harvard. In his autobiography, Obama indicated that if only Harvard would have offered enough money to support all three of them, as another school did, they could have stayed together.
But the newly discovered letters confirm WND’s reporting that Obama Sr. never lived with Dunham and she left Hawaii with her son only weeks after he was born.
Barack Obama Jr. said in his autobiography “Dreams from My Father” that the details of the marriage between his father and Dunham remained murky. Various biographies of Dunham, meanwhile, suggest the two were married only after she became pregnant, with Obama in “Dreams” claiming the two were married on an unspecified date in May 1960.
In his 2012 book “Barack Obama: The Story,” author David Maraniss claims the Kenyan married Dunham in Maui on Feb. 2, 1961, yet no official marriage certificate has ever surfaced.
The letters show that the senior Obama struggled financially to get to Hawaii, where he eventually enrolled at the University of Hawaii in 1959. And letters written in 1961 and 1962 made clear he experienced similar difficulties in his attempt to get to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to begin graduate work at Harvard University.
Barack Obama Sr. addressed most of the six letters to his primary financial benefactor in the United States, John Livingstone, a staff assistant at the Washington-based Institute of American-African Relations.
In a May 18, 1959, “Application for Financial Assistance” produced by African-American Institute Inc. – a group with the same address listed for John Livingstone – the Kenyan indicated he was married, naming as his wife Kesia Aoko.
Obama Sr. abandoned Aoko in Kenya when he left for Hawaii in 1959.
On the application, he also indicated he had been accepted at the University of Hawaii to study applied science in the fields of civil engineering and architecture. But he noted that he had not been offered a scholarship.
The Kenyan asked the African American Institute for a grant of $1,300, with $500 for maintenance and $800 for transportation. He listed he had $1,100 available from private funds and a $400 grant from the Laubach Literary Mission Fund, an affiliated group of the Laubach Institute.
The institute was known in that era to support the idea of a socialist world without borders. It also showed up listed as a sponsor in the Kenyan’s INS immigration documents.
No mention of Dunham
On Feb. 8, 1961, some five days after Maraniss claims Obama Sr. married Dunham, Obama wrote to Gordon Hagberg, the director of the African American Institute, at a DuPont Circle address in Washington different from Livingston’s address.
In the letter, the Kenyan thanked the African American Institute for the $500 “received for the second semester” and the $500 “received for last semester.”
The letter, applying for a scholarship in 1961 discussed in detail Obama’s transcript showing he was carrying a 3.7 grade point average, having just completed seven courses for 21 credit hours, receiving four grades of “A” and two grades of “B.”
But the letter, focused entirely on academic considerations, made no mention that he had married a Hawaii woman.
It’s a fact he could have referenced to obtain more funding, arguing he had taken upon himself the responsibilities of a student wife and possibly future children.
On April 1, 1961, Lee E. Winters Jr., an assistant professor of English at the University of Hawaii, wrote Hagberg a letter endorsing Obama Sr. for a continuing 1961 scholarship.
“Beyond purely academic pursuits, Mr. Obama has done an exemplary job of getting along with people and finding out about the local community and its varied nationalities,” Winters wrote, without any mention that Obama had done so well that he had just married a U.S. national residing in Hawaii.
“The only serious problem that Mr. Obama has faced in his life here has been financial,” Winters continued. “The cost of living in the Islands is fantastically high, and I sympathize with anyone who has brought any money here from elsewhere, as its purchasing power being so drastically decreased.”
‘Airfare to Harvard is $400’
On June 13, 1962, when his son Barack Obama would have been some eight months old, the Kenyan penned a handwritten letter to Robert L. Sherman, a staff associate of the African American Institute in New York City.
In that letter, Obama Sr. makes it clear he had been accepted at Harvard Education, but he had no means to pay for the transportation to get there.
“I am graduating here [in Hawaii] on the 17th of this month,” Obama wrote. “I am intending to leave here on the 21st of this month, which means that I have only one week in which to find the money for travel. I am desperate and I shall, therefore, be most obliged if you will let me know what became of the application and whether I am going to get any assistance.”
He continued, again without mentioning Dunham or the possibility he might get a transportation loan from Dunham’s parents, both of whom were supposedly gainfully employed at that time.
“I am desperate and I have no transportation money,” Obama continued, repeating the urgency of his request. “Unless I get some assistance I will be stranded here. Please let me know about this before the 20th of this month if you can. The fare from here to Harvard is about $400.”
While mentioning he also needed money for living expenses once he got there, given that the scholarship he was awarded by Harvard covered only tuition, Obama concluded the letter by repeating the urgency of his request for $400 airfare.
“I hope to hear from you very soon, at least about the transportation fare, since I have only one week remaining,” Obama said in closing. “We can talk about my application for assistance while at Harvard when I get there, if not now. This is very urgent.”
‘A hamburger is 50 cents’
Then, on Nov. 28, 1962, when his son in Hawaii would have been some 15 months old, Obama Sr. typed a letter to Robert Sherman, addressed as the director of the Student Assistance Program at the Phelps Stokes Fund in New York City. The letter was sent from Obama’s address on Irving Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“The Spring term ends on the 4th of February,” Obama wrote. “So far my funds have been running very fast since I have to buy winter clothings (sic). Also rents are very high here. I am therefore counting on your assistance for the Spring term.”
The rest of the letter continues with Obama expressing how desperately low he was on money to live in Cambridge and continue his studies, again without any mention of his wife and son left behind in Hawaii or any hint of a suggestion that Obama might have some continuing financial obligations to his abandoned Hawaiian family.
“In fact I am surprised that even a hamburger is ¢50 here, a thing I never experienced before,” Obama continued. “The minimum I can live on here is $200. So far I have completely no funds for the second semester.”
He asked only for enough money to make it through the next term.
“I do not even have anywhere to run except to you,” the Kenyan pleaded. “I shall therefore be most grateful if you will help me with the funds for the next semester as you promised me when I last talked with you when I was in New York. I am sure that if I can get the $1,000 which I applied for I should be able to pull through the second semester.”
How Obama Sr. got to Hawaii
WND reportedl in 2010 the flight manifest found in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., debunked President Obama’s claim that his Kenyan father had come to the United States as part of airlift of 81 Kenyan students backed by baseball player Jackie Robinson, which arrived in New York on Sept. 9, 1959.
The New York Times article published Saturday corroborates WND’s previous reporting that he set off for the U.S. on an initial flight from Nairobi to Rome.
WND also reported in 2010 that Obama’s flight to the United States in 1959 was paid for by Mrs. Helen Roberts and Mrs. Elizabeth Mooney Kirk, “an international literary agent,” a co-author with Charles Laubach, the founder of the Laubach Literary Institute.
Kenyan politician Tom Mboya put Obama’s name on a list compiled by the African American Students Foundation of students eligible to receive one of a handful of scholarships in part funded by Jackie Robinson and administered by the Scheinman Foundation.
William X. Scheinman was a Wall Street broker who befriended Mboya on a trip to Africa in 1956 and subsequently involve helped finance the students Mboya sent to the U.S. from Africa.
WND further reported finding in the archives at the Library of Congress a Sept. 19, 1959, newspaper article authored by reporter Shurei Hirozawa documenting that Obama Sr. arrived at the University of Hawaii with no scholarship and very little money.
Obama Sr. “clerked several years in the capital city of Nairobi to save enough for a college education and picked the University of Hawaii when he read in an American magazine about its racial tolerance,” Hirozawa wrote.
“But the money he saved will only stretch out for two semesters or less because of the high cost of living in Hawaii, he found out,” Hirozawa continued. “He’ll work, he says, and probably apply for a scholarship.”
Leftist activist financed Obama Sr.
Leftist activist Cora Weiss provides the answer to who funded Obama Sr.’s education in Hawaii.
In a letter dated May 7 to the New York Times, Weiss acknowledged that Obama came to Hawaii on his own.
“Barack Obama Sr., who greatly admired Mboya, did not come on the first flight, but he was a member of the airlift generation, arriving here in 1959 with the support of two American women teachers.”
Weiss goes on to state that the African American Students Foundation Inc. provided Obama Sr. with three grants, allowing him to continue his studies at the University of Hawaii after his personal savings were exhausted.
Shachtman confirms in “Airlift to America,” on page 9, that the African American Students Foundation sent Obama Sr. checks while he was at the University of Hawaii, “in increments of $50 or $150 for expenses, $243 for tuition.”
Shachtman further noted Obama Sr. “was mostly supported by Mooney, who in 1960 had married an expatriate American, Elmer Kirk, and shortly moved with her husband back to the United States.”
Shachtman also commented that “some Kennedy money was later used to assist [Obama Sr.] in Hawaii,” although Shachtman failed to provide details.
As noted by David Horowitz’s Discover The Networks, Weiss has served since its inception in 1959 as the president of the Samuel Rubin Foundation, named for her father, the Faberge millionaire and secret Communist Party USA member and identified Comintern agent.
Horowitz also credits Weiss with being a principal financier and board member of the Institute of Policy Studies that was founded with a 1963 grant from the Rubin Foundation.
Weiss’s husband, Peter, is chairman of the Institute of Policy Services board of trustees and a member of the National Lawyers Guild and the National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee, both of which were created as Communist Party front organizations.
The Institute of Policy Studies has advanced leftist causes since its foundation. The institute’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., was a place for KGB agents from the nearby Soviet embassy to convene and strategize, .
In her May 7 letter to the New York Times, Weiss said the African American Students Foundation was formed after Mboya’s trip to the U.S. in April 1959, seeking scholarships so Kenyans and other East Africans “could secure the education never offered under British colonialism.”
According to Weiss, the founders of the African American Students Foundation included William X. Scheinman, singer Harry Belafonte, actor Sidney Poitier, Jackie Robinson, civil rights activists Frank Montero and Ted Kheel, Mrs. Ralph Bunche, Mrs. Chester Bowles “and a host of educators and me.”
Weiss noted the African American Students Foundation brought 773 students from Kenya and East Africa to the U.S. between 1959 and 1963.