Obama's Presidential Library Is Coming To Chicago, Obviously
Presidential libraries typically act as the finally resting place for a U.S. president's Oval Office tenure — and sometimes, even for the president himself. When it comes to choosing the perfect spot, many presidents in the past have elected for their birthplaces or hometown. Think: President Richard Nixon and Yorba Linda, California, or President John F. Kennedy and Boston. But Tuesday morning, Obama announced the future home of his presidential library, and the 44th president is flipping the script a bit.
The Obama Foundation formally announced that Obama's presidential library will make its home on the South Side of Chicago. Although Obama was born and primarily raised in Hawaii, Chicago is not an unusual choice for the president: The Windy City is where the young Harvard Law graduate began his political career in the early 1990s. "Located in the city where a young organizer once inspired his community to take action, the Center will inspire citizens across the globe to better their communities, their countries, and their world," the Obama Foundation said in a news release.
The future site of the Obama Presidential Center will not only include the library, but also a museum and the foundation's headquarters. The library will be a partnership with the University of Chicago, where Obama once taught law students for more than a decade.
Chicago's South Side may be the birthplace of first lady Michelle, but it's clear the president has adopted the city as his hometown since moving there in 1992. "Before Washington, there was Chicago," the Obama Foundation states on its website, adding that Chicago has shaped Obama from his "wedding day to Election Day."
In a video message released Tuesday, Obama put the meaning of Chicago in his own words:
All the strands of my life came together and I really became a man when I moved to Chicago. That’s where I was able to apply that early idealism to try to work in communities in public service. That’s where I met my wife. That’s where my children were born.
"I'm thrilled to be able to put this resource in the heart of the neighborhood that means the world to me," Michelle added in the video message. "Every value, every memory, every important relationship to me exists in Chicago."
The Obama Foundation said the library will not just be a tourist attraction, but a way to invigorate the local community by "increasing job creation and community engagement." The Center will have ongoing partnerships with not only the University of Chicago, but also local organizations — a callback to Obama's early career.
Obama is not the only president to place his official library in a city that's not his hometown. President Ronald Reagan, who was born and raised in Illinois, chose Simi Valley, California, as his final resting place. And President George W. Bush's presidential library is in Dallas, of course, where the former Texas governor has lived most of his adult life.
Image: screenshot/the Obama Foundation