There is a surprising announcement that was just made – the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago will not include any documents from Barack Obama’s his presidency, including his birth certificate.
According to Western Journalism, the Obama Foundation has decided to have a digital archive of his records and it “has historians scratching their heads”. Peggy Glowacki, a manuscripts librarian at the University of Illinois at Chicago, stated the following for Chicago Tribune:
“Every archivist is waiting to see how this will work – we are all struggling with how to make things available digitally. I believe in this case it’s such a huge amount of material that it will be important to see how they can deliver it and make it easy to search.”
There’s a tradition that presidential libraries provide paperwork through letters, drafts of speeches and legislation for historians and academics to dig through. At this moment, Obama’s papers are stored in a private facility in Illinois, but they might be shipped to locations in and around Washington, D.C.
Since there won’t be any physical documents at Obama’s center, students and historians alike could not be able to inspect his correspondence on the health care bill or a copy of his birth certificate. When people go to presidential libraries, they usually do it in order to go through records of past presidencies.
“That won’t have a major impact in terms of the success or popularity of the center,” James Rutherford, who oversaw the construction and development of the Clinton Presidential Library, has stated. “The presence of paper records is not that important now – if you go back to Franklin D. Roosevelt, the treasure will be in the documents – now, the treasure is in the electronic records.”
According to a spokesman for the Obama Foundation, their goal is to make “a new model for the next generation of presidential centers that reflects how people access information in this digital age. The Obama Foundation will be funding through private funds the digitization of all non-classified presidential records, so that it can help facilitate better access to these documents to a broader audience.”
In addition, Rutherford stated that the center will still be valuable:
“It will be attractive through the forums, workshops and programs they conduct. The presence of paper records is not that important now.”
However, presidential historian Gil Troy isn’t having any of it:
“When you look at the collection, you meet not only the president, but the people around him as well, which comes from being there, not just logging on.”
Anyway, there have been rumors that Obama’s Hawaiian birth certificate was a fraud and that he actually comes from Kenya. Not letting the public to access the physical birth certificate is just one more piece of evidence suggesting something sketchy is going on with it.