We Were First!

In early 2003, a lanky state legislator from Illinois visited the offices of Black Enterprise. Our editors heard about this young politician who sought to make history by becoming the third African American elected to the U.S. Senate. Admittedly, we were a bit skeptical about his prospects: Did he truly have the financing and organization to achieve that milestone? After an extensive Q&A session, however, our editorial team was so won over by his charisma, strategic mind, and bold vision we decided to have our then-Managing Editor Kenneth Meeks bird-dog him on the campaign trail. And in October 2004 we were the first national magazine to publish a cover story on the man we billed as “The Next Big Thing in Politics.” That man, of course, was Barack Obama.

Since that momentous occasion, be has been one of Obama’s most prolific chroniclers. Our team of content developers–magazine editors, online writers, and television producers–has recorded his five-year journey from state politician to global force. In addition to countless articles on his campaign and the transition, we featured him on our cover twice in 2008–making a case for his presidential campaign before the Iowa primary in our January issue and demonstrating to our readers why he was the best man to become our nation’s chief executive and commander-in-chief in November. Our television programs, Black Enterprise Business Report and Our World with Black Enterprise, have covered every aspect of his campaign and platform, including exclusive interviews with the man who would be president. And BlackEnterprise.com has provided our audience with real-time information on everything from his ground-breaking speech on race to the unveiling of his economic policies.

Now, the real work begins. In the same manner in which we covered the Democratic National Convention and Election Day, our team was once again a ubiquitous presence at the historic Inauguration Day activities–from the Whistle Stop Tour to the swearing-in ceremony. We were on the scene to see the tear-filled eyes and feel the palpable energy that ushered in the Obama era and its promise of a government that will truly serve and represent the American people. With the economy in its worst shape since the Great Depression, we will continue our vigorous coverage of the Obama administration, informing you about the latest developments that will affect your business and financial lives and providing comprehensive analysis of the issues in the way that only be can. For instance, in our special package in this issue, we share with you our take on Obama’s vision for America as well as profiles of the team that will execute his economic recovery plan, national security agenda, and environmental and energy initiatives. In addition, our be Board of Economists weigh in on the potential impact of his $800 billion economic stimulus package, and we show how entrepreneurs and executives can effectively apply elements of Obama’s leadership style in developing business strategies.

Along with the rest of the nation, we are bubbling over with excitement about this defining moment in history. However,