Mandela’s example inspired Obama to enter politics

President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the passing of Nelson Mandela. The first democratically elected president of South Africa had an impact on Obama. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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Entering his sophomore year at Occidental College, Barack Obama sought a political movement to match his personal awakening, which he signaled to friends and family at the time by reclaiming his African first name.Barry became Barack that year. He had read Du Bois, Fanon, Malcolm X — an array of authors writing about the black struggle for liberation in his country and in others shaking off the legacy of colonial rule around the world.That is where he looked for — …

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