The Obama Years

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library - Central Library

The Obama Years

An Assessment of Race Relations in the United States

Have race relations in America improved or deteriorated since Barack Obama ascended to the White House?

The rash of police shooting deaths of unarmed black men has brought attention to the enduring problem of racial violence in the United States.  According to data collected by the Washington Post in 2015, law enforcement officers killed 990 people, of which 258 were black. At present, there have been 703 documented deaths of which 173 were African-Americans. With several months left in the year, the number is expected to rise.

In recognition of Black History Month, journalist Wesley Lowery will discuss the racial violence issue.

Mr. Lowery, a graduate of Ohio University, is a national reporter for the Washington Post. In April 2016, the Washington Post won the Pulitzer Prize in the national reporting category for a series of articles on police shootings and the creation of a database that reveals how often and why police shoot to kill, and who the victims are. Mr. Lowery pitched the database idea to his editors and recommended analyzing the data for patterns in law enforcement. 

Previously, he worked for the Los Angeles Times and Boston Globe. As a political assignment reporter for the Boston Globe, he contributed to many articles including the newspaper's coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shooting. 

Since joining the Washington Post in 2014, Lowery has been an on-the-ground reporter, taking part in the paper's coverage of urban unrest in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland. 

In 2014, the National Association of Black Journalists named him the Emerging Journalist of the Year. In 2015, the organization acknowledged his use of social media by honoring him with its Best Journalist Award. He is the author of the forthcoming volume, They Can't Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America's Racial Justice Movement.

Join us on Wednesday, Feb 8, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. in the Black Studies Center (Room 316) for an enlightening lecture on race relations in the United States during the Obama years.