Friday, November 14, 2008

More Obama love for The St. Louis American

This afternoon I worked out the final details with a photo editor at The New York Times for The Times to reprint Wiley Price's historic photo of the African Methodist Espicopal bishops praying over Barack Obama on July 5 in St. Louis.

Wiley's photo (which first appeared in the July 10, 2008 issue of The St. Louis American) will illustrate the Religion column in Saturday's edition of The Times. The photo editor, Cornelius Schmidt, told me the column is about how the Obama campaign has energized the black clergy.

"I couldn't think of a better way to illustrate that story," Cornelius told me today.

He had previously told Wiley that he received the image numerous times in various email chains, as have millions of people all over the world. I have been sent the image by members of my own family in Ghana and by a former American staff reporter in Senegal, none of whom had any clue the image originated with us. This blog's stat counter daily reports people Googling phrases like "black people praying over Obama" and finding my post about the runaway popularity of the image.

"It's gone viral at this point," Cornelius told me today from The Times. "It's bigger than Obama girl."

Not long after he and I spoke, I received a call from Obama's Senate office in Washington. They had been told by my former campaign media contact in Chicago that we wanted a weekly column from the new president for the black press. The Senate staffer said he wasn't able to offer a weekly column at this point, but he did have an advance copy of Obama's Senate resignation speech that he will give on Sunday and that we can post Sunday morning on the American website and print in next week's paper.

This is a simple but unbelievably classy gesture on the part of the busiest man on the planet to respond to a request from a newspaper that he knows helped him to win. It bodes well for the new president's intentions in maintaining contact with the grass roots.

By the way, Wiley is selling signed prints of this photo at the newspaper, 4242 Lindell in Midtown St. Louis. His MySpace page is one way to contact him.

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