Here is a moving letter I received from one of my former students a day after the election of Barack Obama. It is a reminder of the unique privilege and responsibilities that we have as educators to open minds and hearts. Obama’s victory just made my job as a teacher of Africa, human rights and social justice a bit easier and a lot more rewarding. This, too, is Obama’s gift.


Dear Dr. Ibhawoh,

My name is …………, I was in some of your classes last year andthe year before that.

I just felt like writing to you about the election last night. I wokeup this morning wishing that I was going to get up and go to one ofyour lectures or to our diasporic seminar to experience this!

I’m very excited by Obama’s election and I’m sure, regardless of yourpolitical opinions, you would be too from an historian’s perspective. Ikeep thinking about how today’s lecture would go if I were in myAmerican History class talking about the Civil Rights Movement, or if Iwas doing my presentation today on racial sentiments in America’sentertainment business… or any kind of experience other than mymundane job!

I’m done school now, but I’m CRAVING debate and discussion andenlightenment! I just wanted to let you know how much your classesinspired me and what an affect you had on my daily thoughts. Hope you have an exciting week of classes.