(SNews) – Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, David Garrow, sat with Barack Obama for eight hours over three days for his book, “Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama” in 2017.
The book was forgotten in the media frenzy over the Trump administration, but what he said in a recent interview with Tablet turned heads.
Q: How did you get those three women, Obama’s college and law school girlfriends, to give you Obama’s love letters to them, and what was the most surprising thing you found in them?
A: With Alex [McNear, Obama’s girlfriend at Occidental College], I think she wanted to have her role known. So when Alex showed me the letters from Barack, she redacted one paragraph in one of them and just said, “It’s about homosexuality.”
And then sometime, right about when Rising Star came out, Alex indirectly sold the original, sold those letters, and they ended up at Emory.
So Emory put out a press release saying, “We’ve gotten these rare letters by Barack Obama.”And no mention of this paragraph that was too sensitive. None of the papers mentioned it. Emory didn’t mention it.
So I sent one of my oldest friends, Harvey Klehr—Harvey was the guy going back to 1980 when I was trying to solve who fingered [Dr. King’s close advisor] Stanley Levison, how was it known to the FBI that Stan had been.
Q: A communist.
A: Yes. So I emailed Harvey, said, “Go to the Emory archives.”
He’s spent his whole life at Emory, but they won’t let him take pictures.
So Harvey has to sit there with a pencil and copy out the graph where Barack writes to Alex about how he repeatedly fantasizes about making love to men.
Now, Genevieve [Cook, Obama’s girlfriend in New York], Genevieve’s just a free spirit.
I went to Australia to meet her. And she had had a—let me think about how best to say this—she had a subsequent relationship there in Australia that was troubled, and so she was living in a very low-visibility context.
So we drove down and stayed with her and her partner for three days in the Mornington Peninsula south of Melbourne. And she was keeping a journal during her relationship with Barack, so she had all sorts of stuff.
Sheila, though, it’s unclear.
Q: What became of Alex?
A: Alex, I haven’t heard from in about two years. There’s a wonderful woman named Margot Mifflin who was part of that whole crowd, who teaches journalism at CUNY.
Margot and her husband, they’re sort of the most active of the Oxy [Occidental] crowd.
Now, Alex was living in … I’m not very good on the Hamptons, is Sag Harbor right? Her mother was alive then. I think when she sold the letters to Emory, her excuse was that she needed money to help out with the mother’s medical conditions.
”I have a very clear memory of Alex being embarrassed about selling the letters.
But I can’t line up chronologically when that was in time related to when Barack starts calling Sheila again.
Q:Do you think that he starts calling her again because he needs to keep her close because she knows too much of his story, and she becomes a wild card if she no longer feels a tie to him?
A: I think that’s accurate.
— New York Post (@nypost) August 5, 2023