Harvard Law School

November 20, 2011 by staff 

Harvard Law School, A 20-year-old video clip of Barack Obama hit YouTube on Thursday. The future president appeared on a televised “Black History Minutes” segment in 1991, the same year he graduated from Harvard law school.

The early video, originally broadcast by TBS as a public service announcement, may have been Obama’s first-ever appearance on national television.

The president made this video some five years before running for a state Senate seat in Illinois. The script, which he either memorized or read from a teleprompter, concerned the accomplishments of Charles Hamilton Houston, the African-American lawyer who taught Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Obama’s voice in 1991, far lower-pitched and more measured than what Americans are accustomed to in 2011, is only marginally recognizable.

“The distinguished lawyer Charles Hamilton Houston was born in 1895, eight months before the Supreme Court’s ‘separate but equal’ ruling in Plessy vs. Ferguson. He spent his career fighting to overturn that decision,” Obama intoned. “As director of the NAACP legal campaign, Houston masterminded the strategy that eventually led to the historic decision of Brown vs. Board of Education.”

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