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What has Obama's presidency meant for black Americans?

As Barack Obama's presidency enters its final year, has the wave of hope and expectation on which he was elected converted in to real change for African Americans?

That is the question on the lips of many in the country, who saw joy at the election of their first black leader slowly dissolve with continued race-related violence and political division.

Washington Correspondent Robert Moore speaks to some African Americans about their views on the president's tenure. Among them was young man who was just a child when ITV News first met him on Mr Obama's historic 2009 inauguration.


Obama to target 'peaceful planet' in final State of the Union

Barack Obama's 2016 State of the Union will be his last. Credit: Reuters

Barack Obama is to tell Americans world peace is "within our reach" as he makes his final State of the Union address to the nation.

The US President will acknowledge that the United States is facing extraordinary change, but can overcome its challenges if it comes together, the White House has said.

Mr Obama, who was inaugurated in January 2009, will also issue a call to "fix our politics", after expressing disappointment that he has failed to heal the country's political division.

Speaking after he used executive powers to force through tougher new gun legislation, the President, who represents the Democrats, told NBC's Today show his failure to ensure better co-operation with opposition Republicans in Congress was a "regret".

The speech comes as campaigning gains momentum ahead of November's election, with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton the current favourites for the Republican and Democratic candidacies respectively.

Seat left empty at State of the Union speech to honour gun victims

US President Barack Obama will leave one seat empty during his final State of the Union address at the White House next week to represent the victims of gun violence, officials have revealed.

President Obama broke down in tears as he spoke of the Sandy Hook massacre

For the first time during his presidency, Mr Obama - a long-time advocate of tighter gun control - plans to leave the seat unfilled to make a political point.

It comes after the president gave an emotional speech detailing his plans to override Congress and introduce more stringent requirements for gun dealers and owners, breaking down in tears as he spoke of the Sandy Hook massacre.

The annual State of the Union address is held to give the president chance to outline his legislative agenda for the coming months, and discuss national priorities.

Despite a few days of heavy campaigning by the White House on the issue of gun control, aides told the New York Times that the Mr Obama's speech was unlikely to focus strongly on the matter, instead choosing to let the empty seat speak for him.

Mother of child killed in Sandy Hook shooting 'proud' of Obama

The mother of a child killed in the Sandy Hook shooting said she is "proud" of President Obama for tightening gun controls.

Nicole Hockley – the mother of Dylan Hockley, a six-year-old shot in the Sandy Hook massacre - said she couldn't understand why anyone would oppose the gun laws.

Ms Hockley said: "I feel like I've been waiting for these words for almost three years now and it still not enough. We still have a lot of steps that need to be taken to save more lives."

She added: "I'm very proud of our president for keeping his commitment to us that he made three years ago when we lost our children."

She said it was not the first time she had seen Obama cry and it wasn't the "first or last time she had cried".

He's a man, he's a father, he understands. He's human and he's reacting within his power but as a parent. We need parental guidance in this country right now to get this problem fixed.

– Ms Hockley


Wife of pastor killed in Charleston shooting backs Obama's gun controls

Widow Jennifer Pinckney Credit: ITV News

The wife of the pastor killed in the Charleston shooting last year has backed President Obama's new gun control measures.

Mr Pinckney was shot dead in a gun attack on the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June 2015.

Reverend Clementa Pinckney

When we left that day to go to church, we left as a family and we didn't know he wouldn't be returning with us.

Definitely something needs to be done and I stand behind the president 100%.

– Widow Jennifer Pinckney
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