Two people listed on the 1987 letters Barack Obama authored in arguably his first community organizing attempt would later write the recommendations that got the future president into Harvard Law School, according to a book by author Alan Lockwood.
The letters, obtained and recently published by The Daily Caller, show Obama approaching Harold Washington, then the mayor of Chicago, about a community organizing project whose advisory board would include his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright; the controversial leftist Catholic priest Father Michael Pfleger; and the brother of Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers, among other radicals.
Others Obama picked for the board were Dr. John L. McKnight, a professor at the Center for Urban Affairs Policy Research at Northwestern University, and Albert Raby, the director of the Commission for Human Relations for the City of Chicago.
According to Lockwood’s book, “Barack O’Liberal: The Education of President Obama,” McKnight and Raby both wrote recommendations for Obama to get into Harvard Law School – and they may be the only reason he got into Harvard in the first place.
“The Harvard Law application required two recommendations, provided space to list the names of two recommenders, provided recommendation forms for two recommenders, and explicitly discouraged additional recommendations – so naturally, four persons have claimed to have written recommendations for Obama,” Lockwood wrote. “All of these persons may have been truthful, especially if one or two of those recommendations were informal letters sent to Harvard Law professors in the hope of indirectly influencing the Admissions Committee. Obama has confirmed only one of his recommenders, John McKnight, whom Obama knew through his community organizing work.”
“Michael Baron, who was one of Obama’s Columbia professors, is the only claimed recommender who complies with the application’s instructions that at least one recommender be able to attest to the applicant’s academic abilities,” Lockwood added. “Another claimed recommender, Al Raby, seems plausible since he was a renowned civil rights leader who had worked closely with Obama in his community organizing activities. There’s reason to believe that the last claimant, Percy Sutton, a renowned New York attorney, might have written an informal recommendation sent to a Harvard Law professor.”
According to Lockwood, McKnight was “a follower of Saul Alinsky and a cofounder and board member of the Gamaliel Foundation, a leftist community organizing group.”
Raby, Lockwood wrote, was a “renowned Chicago civil rights leader and community organizer,” who worked with Martin Luther King, Jr., and eventually “was the campaign manager for Harold Washington’s successful bid to become the first black mayor of Chicago.”