What a Prediction: From 1976's Pettigrew to 2008's Obama - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Many have said that such an especially historic event such as this Election Day may have never happened in their wildest imaginations.

Those who have lived through the days of civil rights struggles, Jim Crow injustices, and Amadou Diallo and Sean Bell tragedies, might have thought they’d never see the day when the idea of a black man in the White House could be taken seriously and could be so close to being real.

Apparently, Berry Reece, a writer, envisioned a 1976 election in which Gov. Tim Pettigrew of New York stood in the make-belief presidential candidate shoes that have become reality for Obama today. Reece’s Pettigrew character was the first black presidential nominee for the Democratic Party in a comic book series. The six-part “Pettigrew for President” series ran in the January-June 1964 issues of Treasure Chest, and was distributed to Catholic school students around the country.

Reece told The New York Times that he initially wrote the story of Gov. Pettigrew to educate children on the fundamentals of the presidential nomination process. Who would have thought that a manifestation of Reece’s imagination would, 44 years later, become a substantial possibility we all can witness with our own eyes this Election Day, as our nation’s citizens crowd voting poll lines, and children watch moms and dads in their enthusiasm and eagerness for the coming results.

The insightful and prolific ending of the book reads:

And so this man Pettigrew became the first Negro candidate for president of the United States. He then went out across the land, this black man, to campaign for the highest office. Would he win? … Well it would depend in part on how the boys and girls reading this grew up and voted … It would depend on whether they believed, and, indeed, lived those words in the Declaration [of Independence]– ‘All men are created equal.'”

Janell Hazelwood is a reporter and the copy editor for BlackEnterprise.com.

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Janell Hazelwood

Janell Hazelwood is associate managing editor at Black Enterprise, managing content across core areas of Money, Career, Small Business and Technology. She is also a featured blogger with My Two Cents, providing insights on branding, millennial career development, employment trends and leadership. She was previously a content producer and copy editor for Black Enterprise magazine, working across several editorial sections. The Hampton University graduate got her start in the newspaper industry, having worked for companies including The New York Times and Scripps Howard News Service. Her works and insights have appeared on The Huffington Post, MadameNoire, E!Online, Brazen Careerist, CBS News, and Arise TV.


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