Monday, July 13, 2009

African-American Fraternity Honors Former President Bill Clinton

The Voice of America headline, “Black Fraternity Inducts Bill Clinton,” had to bring back memories from the Democratic primary when the Obama camp did its best on several occasions to smear Bill and Hillary Clinton as racists. To the extent that Obama is said to have garnered over 90% of the African-American vote in both the primary and the general election, his team succeeded in turning the heads of the many African-Americans who until then had acknowledged the Clintons’ impeccable record on civil rights throughout their years in public service.

I continue to feel a debt of gratitude to Princeton Historian Sean Wilentz, a contributing editor to the New Republic, for his continued efforts to debunk the Obama team’s slanderous attacks on the Clintons. In March 2008 in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Wilentz wrote:

Instead, she {Hillary Clinton} had to fight back against a deliberately contrived strategy to make her and her husband look like race-baiters. Obama's supporters and operatives, including his chief campaign strategist David Axelrod, seized on accurate and historically noncontroversial statements and supplied a supposedly covert racist subtext that they then claimed the calculating Clinton campaign had inserted.

But back to the present: the VOA reports:

A historically African-American fraternity has inducted former U.S. president Bill Clinton as an honorary member.

Phi Beta Sigma, an organization of college students and professional men, welcomed the former president into its ranks at their 95th anniversary conclave in New Orleans, in the southern state of Louisiana.

Clinton receives credit for his many contributions:

The organization cited Mr. Clinton's work with his foundation since leaving the presidency, saying it "makes a significant impact on the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world." They said his work was in lines with the goals and initiatives of Phi Beta Sigma.

Clinton joins the ranks of several African presidents and many well-known African-Americans:

Phi Beta Sigma was founded in 1914 at Howard University, a historically black university in Washington, DC. It has counted among its ranks former African presidents such as Ghana's Kwame Nkruma, Nigeria's Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe, and Liberia's William Tolbert.

A number of prominent African-Americans have also been members, including the former head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People James Weldon Johnson and scientist George Washington Carver.

Phi Beta Sigma currently has more than 150,000 members around the world.
I can’t help wondering how Rep. James Clyburn from South Carolina, a former friend of the Clintons, who suddenly turned on them during the primary, feels about Bill Clinton’s acceptance in Phi Beta Sigma.


  1. I can tell you how Representative Clyburn feels. As a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (Jesse Jackson's Frat), Clyburn is scratching his head wondering, how in the hell did the Sigmas pull that one off. ha ha.

    And suddenly Obama will get a flood of letters like Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. Please join my Frat. Please!!!

    But you'll have to wait. Because he's considering Sigma too.

  2. Hi Prince,

    Interesting comment. It hadn't occurred to me to wonder if Obama had been invited to join the Sigmas.

    You know, I can understand the African-American community's eagerness to support Obama in 2008, but I'm still finding his campaign's attempts to smear the Clintons as racists in 2008 unforgivable.