*HBO Documentary Films has announced a new three-part documentary series OBAMA: IN PURSUIT OF A MORE PERFECT UNION, which is slated to premiere this summer around Obama’s 60th birthday.
The doc debuts August 3rd (9:00-10:40 p.m. ET/PT), with additional parts airing August 3rd and 4th.
Per press release, directed by Emmy® award winner Peter Kunhardt (True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight For Equality, King In The Wilderness, John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls, Jim: The James Foley Story) and Executive Produced by renowned journalist (The New Yorker) and author Jelani Cobb, OBAMA: IN PURSUIT OF A MORE PERFECT UNION chronicles the personal and political journey of President Barack Obama, as the country grapples with its own racial history.
Through weaving together conversations with colleagues, friends and critics, interspersed with Obama’s own speeches,
The series provides context, insight and critique from a wide range of participants including: author Jelani Cobb; Representative John Lewis; political consultant David Axelrod; Rev. Alvin Love; author Michael Eric Dyson; journalist Laura Washington; Rev. Jeremiah Wright; journalist Michele Norris; New Yorker editor David Remnick; Rev. Al Sharpton; professor Cornel West; politician Jesse Jackson; author Ta-Nehisi Coates; NAACP’s Sherrilyn Ifill; political advisor Valerie Jarrett; professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.; actor Keegan-Michael Key; former government official Shirley Sherrod; journalist David Maraniss; professor Ken Mack; speechwriter Jon Favreau; advisor Broderick Johnson; and Representative Bobby Rush.
Part One of OBAMA: IN PURSUIT OF A MORE PERFECT UNION looks back over Obama’s upbringing by a single mother from Kansas and white grandparents, his early schooling in Hawaii and his education at Columbia University and Harvard Law School. Through archival interviews, Obama reflects on the impact of having an estranged African father, growing up bi-racial and his evolving relationship with the African American community in Chicago, where he worked with Black churches as a community organizer.
Part Two takes us from Obama’s presidential bid to his election to the White House in November 2008, exploring the obstacles and successes along the campaign trail. With constant pressure to define his identity along racial lines and frustrated by what he saw as a distraction from other important issues, Obama delivers his “race speech” of March 2008, a determined defense of the U.S. Constitution and a plea to look beyond America’s “racial stalemate” in order to advance prosperity and unity.
Part Three takes us to the White House years and the formidable hurdles that Obama faced trying to pass legislation in a bitterly divided Congress. He ultimately succeeded in passing the Affordable Care Act but the chasm across the aisle in Washington grew ever wider. As the nation faced a period of heightened awareness around police brutality towards African Americans and the fervent partisan battle over gun control, his critics accused him and the administration of not doing enough to lead a conversation about race, and the president moves forward with policies that focus on racial justice and empowerment.
The three-part documentary will debut on HBO and be available to stream on HBO Max.
Check out the trailer above.