Since he left office, Barack Obama hasn’t shied away from continuing to show all the personality that made him so popular. Now he’s being immortalized via road names and landmarks across the country.
The nation’s first African-American president need not go far around the country these days to find something that carries his name. There’s Barack Obama Way in New Albany Township, Indiana, and Barack Obama Boulevard in Pahokee, Florida. There’s a long list of schools now named for him, like Barack Obama Academy for Academic & Civic Development in Plainfield, New Jersey, and Barack Obama Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia.
Obama even has animal species named after him, like placida barackobamai, a sea slug.
I … don’t know how to feel about that! It’s kind of cool and all, but I’d honestly feel happier about having, say, a new species of, I don’t know, hawk named after me, or something. Maybe a liger. Apparently, the name was chosen “to recognize President Barack Obama’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions globally as well as for his proclamation in 2016 extending the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.” Which is a pretty good reason, I guess!
(I still don’t know how to feel about that.)
Anyway, we wouldn’t be surprised if Obama’s name ends up in a lot more places. Of course, there’s red tape to be expected—bureaucracy, am I right?—and there’s always some level of pushback possible whenever these things come up. Just look at the negative response to an attempt to name a street after Jean-Jacques Dessalines, one of “Haiti’s founding fathers.”
Still, historians and politicians alike think naming landmarks and roads after Obama is an attractive idea and one that will continue, likely for a long time. Douglas Brinkey, a Rice University professor and presidential historian, told USA Today: “At the end of the line, 20 or 30 years from now, there will be hundreds of hospitals, schools, bridges and statutes … He’s going to be one of the four or five most celebrated figures in U.S. history.”
Los Angeles City Council members are considering a motion to rename the LAX airport after Obama, while Chicago politicians have long been discussing the idea of naming a freeway after him, per USA Today.
We’re not sure if the renamed roads will be anything like the MLK Boulevards in our neighborhoods. But if they are, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the barbecue spots.