Was Obama a member of the radical Black Students Organization, or not?
As we saw above, in articles in The New York Times and Columbia College Today, Obama claims to have been a member of the Black Students Organization while at Columbia. But was he really?
This is a photo of the Columbia Black Students Organization, taken from the 1983 yearbook The Columbian. As you can see, Obama was not among them, even though 1983 was his senior year at Columbia. (The bright spot in the lower left is a reflection of the camera flash. In case you’re wonder whether the flash accidentally obscured Obama, this photo shows the missing portion of the image - which also doesn’t include Obama.) Earlier editions of the Columbian did not include photos of the BSO.
This image comes from the Black Students Organization’s own history page. Both the image and the text depict the BSO (and its predecessors; before 1976, the Black student group at Columbia changed names several times) as being extremely radical; famously, in 1968, the Black student group “armed with guns” took over a building on campus and initiated a complete shutdown of Columbia. After their heyday in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, things calmed down somewhat, but they kept up their radical activism continuously since that time.
Yet, no mention of Obama is made anywhere on their site. And the same New York Observer article linked to above, states:
The former vice president of the Black Students Organization, senior Mark Attiah, was shocked to learn that Obama was even a member of the BSO. “I knew that he graduated from Columbia, but he doesn’t talk about it that much, which I get,” Mr. Attiah said.... Coincidentally, Mr. Attiah worked at the 25th reunion of the class of ‘83 last year, and not surprisingly, reported that Senator Obama did not attend.... In fact, there is not a single picture of Senator Obama in any of the yearbooks from the period when he was a student—he is not even listed as absent in the BSO photo from 1983.
In fact, aside from Obama’s own assertion, I could find no real evidence suggesting that he was a member of the Black Students Organization at Columbia. Again, his claims do not stand up under scrutiny.
The picture is at the link.
Why would anyone remember Barack Obama when he was known as Barry Soetoro at the time?