President Barack Obama took office as the nation's 44th Commander In Chief and made history by becoming the first African American, elected to the highest office in the land on November 4, 2008. The former Illinois Senator was sworn-in as President of The United States on January 20, 2009.  Four years later, do to his immense popularity, he was re-elected to a second term in 2012.

President Barack Obama-Instagram
President Barack Obama-Instagram
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At the end of his 8-year run President Obama is still widely popular, with his latest approval rating being 55%.  It's been quite a ride, but make no mistake, running the country hasn't been easy for the nation's first Black president.  For starters America's racism issues didn't go away with his election, they actually got worse.  The Washington Post reported, the Obama presidency unleashed racial furies that have only multiplied over time.  Never in the history of America has a President of The United States been more disrespected than Obama.

CNN reported, there is no question that the Presidents race played a major factor in why he was treated with less respect than his predecessors.  Because of his race, Black America and other minority groups expected a lot from him too.  The pressure was on from the very beginning, for the nation's first African American President to "represent."  If that wasn't enough,  there was a lot going on in America and around the world when he took office.  President Obama took office one month after the worst oil spill in U.S. history, the Gulf of Mexico Spill, unemployment was through the roof and we were the second year of the Great Recession.  So to say this President has is work cut-out for him, is an understatement.

The President and First Lady- Getty Images
The President and First Lady- Getty Images
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As for minorities and taking care of "his people"...has President Barack Obama done all he could do?  That's a subject up for much debate with some people of color, but the majority feel the President has done a fine job.  In fact, most people feel he would've done an ever better job had Republicans in Congress, not fought or blocked everything he tried to do.  Like raise minimum wage, sick leave proposals or saving lives through better gun control laws, immigration reform, the DREAM Act and much more.  In 2014 Obama spoke of his frustration with the GOP tying his hands.  He said,

“Their willingness to say no to everything — the fact that since 2007, they have filibustered about 500 pieces of legislation that would help the middle class just gives you a sense of how opposed they are to any progress — has actually led to an increase in cynicism and discouragement among the people who were counting on us to fight for them.”

Here are 17 Obama bills that would have become law, had it not been for Congress.  With little to no help from Congress, President Obama had to take executive action to at least 44 times, to help America's middle class. Through his We Can’t Wait Initiative he: combated prescription drug shortages and fought price gouging, extended overtime pay protections with Fair Pay For Homecare Workers, provided new resources to Get Veterans Back To Work, launched two initiatives to provide small businesses with $2 billion in resources, increased sales of U.S. exports and production by American farmers, gave an extra $1,000 to families making $50k or less with Middle Class Tax Cuts and Unemployment Insurance and much more.

President Obama bypassed the congressional gridlock to help speed-up our economic growth.  He said of intentional delays,

"Without a doubt, the most urgent challenge that we face right now is getting our economy to grow faster and to create more jobs…. we can’t wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job. Where they won’t act, I will."

- President Barack Obama, October 24, 2011

Throughout his presidency he's been met with tremendous adversity, major party division, continuous roadblocks, blatant disrespect, ridicule to having to prove over and over again that he is an American, thanks years of Donald Trump's Birther lies.  Yet he overcame it all.  He never cracked under pressure.  He was always calm and steady.  How did he do it?

President Obama believed all hard working Americans deserved to get a week of sick pay every year and urged Congress to act on his Paid Sick Leave proposals.  The President said,

“That’s why I’ve repeatedly called on the Republican Congress to pass a law guaranteeing most workers in America the chance to earn seven days of paid sick leave each year,” He added. “Of course, Congress hasn’t acted.”

 

Obama was a Black man who happened to be President, and "represented" for ALL people - Black, White, Red, Yellow and Brown.  The poor, the middle-class, the rich, the straight and gay, women and men, children, American or immigrant, and people of all religious backgrounds and faiths.  That's the way it should be, if you are going to be a leader of the free world.

There's a lot more that needs to be done in the way of race relations here in the U.S. Though we have come far in the fight against hate and racism, the President admits America still has a long way to go in order,

“to rid our country of the long-term disparities that have put the African American community at a disadvantage.”

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA LEGACY: Over 400 accomplishments and counting!

NAACP Image Award Chairman's Award - 2005, Nobel Peace Prize- 2009, Time's Person of The Year-2008/2012, Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album & NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, Nonfiction - Audacity of Hope Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream 2006/2007/2008, NME Award for Hero of the Year - 2013

Now to the nitty-gritty. Here are President Barack Obama's "Top 50 Accomplishments" during his presidency, beginning with "The Top 10" for minorities and the Black community.

1. Founded My Brother's Keeper Initiative - to build a foundation of support for our young people to stay on the right track, by providing financial aid for higher learning and various other sources education, vast resources, celebrities mentor programs, and more.

2. Launched the Summer Jobs Act to give job opportunities to low-income youth.

3. Awarded $1.2 Billion To Black Farmers President Obama oversaw the settlement awarded to Black farmers who've been denied loans and assistance by the Agricultural Dept. for decades.

4. Raised the bar with the Head Start Initiative by holding low-performing centers accountable for improving performance.

5. Made college affordable for minorities by doubling Pell Grant awards and extended the program to help inmates, allowing them to gain a college education with the Second Chance Pell Grant Program .

6. Made owning a home more affordable by Cutting Mortgage Premiums for FHA loans. This allowed African-American families seeking to buy their first home more affordable and accessible. In 2015 the number of African American borrowers (new purchase or refinance) with an FHA loan increased by nearly 50%.  In addition, Obama added Foreclosure Prevention Programs to help keep families from losing their homes.

7. Helping the Long-Term Unemployed Get Back to Work plan: The Obama Administration took steps to help the long-term unemployed get back to work, of whom one-quarter of those are African American.

8. July 2012 the President signed and Executive Order to implement the Educational Excellence for African Americans. The initiative would restore the United States to its role as the global leader in education; strengthen the Nation by improving educational outcomes for African Americans of all ages; and help ensure that African Americans receive a complete and competitive education that prepares them for college, a satisfying career, and productive citizenship.

9.  February 26, 2010 President Obama signed an executive order renewing the White House Initiative on HBCUs. White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities

10. Championing Criminal Justice Reform and Fair Policing: President Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act in 2010, which narrowed the penalty between crack and powder cocaine from 1:10 to 1:18.  In 2014, President Obama established a task force on policing.  In 2015, he took a stand for Black Lives Matter and rolled back the use of certain military equipment by local police.  Obama and the Department of Justice have also investigated several police departments, including Ferguson, Cleveland, and Philadelphia, under former Attorney General Eric Holder and current Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

For more on what the Obama administration has done for the African American community specifically, click here.

“This dream of equality and fairness has never come easily—but it has always been sustained by the belief that in America, change is possible. Today, because of that hope, coupled with the hard and painstaking labor of Americans sung and unsung, we live in a moment when the dream of equal opportunity is within reach for people of every color and creed.” – President Barack Obama, National African American History Month Proclamation, 2013

President Barack Obama-Instagram
President Barack Obama-Instagram
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11. Signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, to help women fight back when they don't get equal pay for equal work.

12. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 supported millions of jobs and helped to save America from a second Great Recession.

13. Pushed for and won Middle-Class Tax Cuts, benefited every American worker and saving families thousands.

14. Rescued the auto industry, and now GM, Ford and Chrysler are healthier than they've ever been. Thanks to President Obama, the American auto industry has added nearly a quarter of a million jobs since June 2009.

15. Launched the Student Loan Forgiveness Program. His student loan reform ended billions in subsidies to banks, serving as middlemen, and reinvested those savings directly in students.  Obama followed that up with the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC,) a credit for qualified education expenses paid for an eligible student for the first four years of college.

16. In an effort to raise academic standards, Obama's Race to the Top initiative dedicated over $4 billion to 19 states that have created robust plans that address the four key areas of K-12 education.

17. Obama's Economic policies lifted more than 7 million Americans above the poverty line in 2010.

18. President Obama has signed 17 tax cuts and counting, for small businesses since taking office. Those include the Small Business Jobs Act,  HIRE Act, Expansion of Limits on Small Business Expensing and more.

19. Made healthcare possible for millions with Affordable Health Care Act(Obama Care.) Because of Obamacare, the rates of uninsured Americans have fallen to 11.9% after being at 16% when President Bush left office. Over 3 million poor Americans, including hundreds of thousands of African Americans in the south would be covered if not for Republican governors blocking the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

20. Created more than 5.2 million new private sector jobs, which brought the unemployment rate to it's lowest level.

21. Put a stop to Insurance Discrimination against the 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.

22. Overhauled Federal Government Regulations making them smarter, practical, and more efficient. These common-sense initiatives will help save businesses $10 billion in the next five years alone.

23. Launched several Clean Energy Incentives, quadrupled wind and solar production, doubled the amount of electricity we make, helping to increase biofuel production to its highest level in history.

24. Doubling Fuel Efficiency Standards, saving drivers more than $8,000 at the gas pump, and lessened the impact of automobiles on our environment.

25. Obama has taken Unprecedented Action to Address Climate Change.  He made historic international agreements to curb carbon emissions, and took action here at home to reduce carbon pollution from our vehicles and promote clean energy production.

26.  Formally Declared Carbon Dioxide A Pollutant : In 2009 the first steps of The Clean Power Plan took effect, Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) declared that carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases (GHGs) threaten public health and the environment.

27. Signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expands existing hate crime protections to include crimes based on a victim’s sexual orientation, gender, or disability, in addition to race, color, religion, or national origin.

29. Took historic action to protect our environment with by signing into law the Wilderness Act— the largest expansion of protected wilderness and national monuments ever.

30. President Obama fought for and won landmark Wall Street Reform and ended the era of taxpayer bailouts and "too big to fail."

31. Launched the Consumer Financial Protection initiative, which created the Concur Financial Protection Bureau, the nation's first federal agency focused solely on protecting families from unfair and abusive financial practices from Wall Street banks and crooked financial industry.

32. The White House posted its visitor records for the very first time, as part of President Obama's commitment to transparency with the Voluntary Disclosure Policy.

33. President Obama's all-of-the-above approach to energy, helped to stop the U.S. dependence on foreign oil and bring it to its lowest level in 20 years.

34. President Obama ended the war in Iraq.  He began the transition of the security responsibility to the Afghan people and announced a plan to end the war in Afghanistan .

35. President Obama sent the largest security assistance package to Israel in history.  He funded the Iron Dome system, which protects Israeli homes and schools from rocket attacks.

36. President Obama made history by implementing the toughest sanctions on Iran, when he rallied the international community and signed into law, thee Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA) .

37. President made history by increasing the Veterans Affairs funding, when he extended the new GI Bill in August 2009.  This impacted and improved healthcare and job training access for our returning veterans.

38. President Obama secured the commitments from several of other countries to lock down nuclear materials, by negotiating the New START Treaty with Russia. This reduced the number of nuclear weapons in both countries.

39. President Obama set a bold new plan for the future of NASA space exploration, using the skill and ability of the private sector for short trips to the International Space Station.

40. Signed into law the Marriage Equality Act reaffirming that all Americans are entitled to the equal protection of the law.  That all people should be treated equally, regardless of who they are or who they love. He then took the practical and compassionate step of extending hospital visitation rights to same-sex partners.

41. He fought for and won the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", allowing gay and lesbian members of the military to serve openly for the first time in history.

42. The Obama administration recognized tourism is one of America's largest economic engines. He worked to encourage international visitors to come here, maintaining our security while keeping millions of Americans in good, paying jobs.

43. Expanded Stem Cell Research: In 2009, eliminated the Bush-era restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, which shows promise in treating spinal injuries, among many other areas. Signed a presidential memorandum to establish greater independence for federal science policies and programs with the Stem Cell Executive Order.

44. Obama Immigration Policies. Congress has failed to act on several major policies the Obama administration has put forth to fix our broken immigration system.  The president has done everything in his power to improve and streamline the legal immigration process and help the shadow of deportation from hard working young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.  To see what Obama has accomplished click here.

46. Halted Further Production of The F-22 Raptor: In 2009, ended further purchases of Lockheed Martin single-seat, twin-engine, fighter aircraft, which cost $358 million apiece. Though the military had 187 built, the plane has never flown a single combat mission. Eliminating it saved $4 billion.

47. Put Americans back to work with the American Jobs Act.

48. Increased funding for national parks and forests by 10%

49. Appointed first Latina to the US Supreme Court just four months after being sworn in, as the first African American president. Obama made history again on May 26, 2009 when he nominated U.S. Court of Appeals Judge. Sonia Sotomayor became the first Hispanic justice and only the third woman on the U.S. Supreme Court.

50. Gave the order to take Osama Bin Laden out!

President Barack Obama, thank you for all that you have done and everything that you have tried to do.  Thank you for always maintaining your cool in the face of extreme adversity and disrespect, for being level headed and unshaken in the face of danger, thank you for choosing your words and thinking before speaking, for being an awesome role model, husband and father.

Thank you for doing all you could to make things better for America.  Below are a few videos of President Barack Obama's best moments: