Barack Obama Breaks Ground on Presidential Center in Chicago

In Summary

Former President Barack Obama announced groundbreaking festivities for his presidential center and library in Chicago, which will be placed in the city’s southside.

Former President Barack Obama announced Friday that groundbreaking festivities are underway for his long-awaited Obama Presidential Center, which will be rooted in his beloved Chicago. 

He remarked in a video announcement alongside former first lady Michelle Obama that the city is where he got his start in public service and “where Michelle and I got married and started our family.” 

RELATED: ‘Obama’ Documentary Highlights Key Role Race Played in Former President’s Tenure 

The pair wanted to “give something back to the place that gave us so much,” added Michelle. 

“Since then, we’ve worked with people who care about this place as much as we do, harnessing the collective talent of the South Side,” he said. “Together we put the voices of this community at the heart of our project. The result is more than a look into the past, it’s a vision for the future.”  

The former president chose the Chicago location in 2016, which is set on 19 acres of the historic Jackson Park, which prompted fear and pushback from local activists over the probable displacement of Black people and legal challenges with park preservation, per NBC News. After years of delays, construction on the project began in August. 

RELATED: Michelle Obama’s Advocacy Work Recognized With 2021 Freedom Award 

Longtime opponents of the project petitioned the Supreme Court to order the building of the presidential center be delayed further due to potential environmental and historic consequence, but Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett refused. 

“With your help, we can make this center a catalyst for economic opportunity, a new world class destination on the Southside and a platform for young people to drive change,” Barack said.

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