A new expansive biography of Barack Obama and his family raises questions about the death of the president's father in Kenya in 1982. Although the official cause of Barack Obama Sr.'s death was a drunk-driving accident, some family members interviewed in Peter Firstbrook's The Obamas: The Untold Story of an African Family believe that he might have been murdered because of his political beliefs. Sarah Obama, the president's grandmother, is quoted in the book: "We think there was foul play there, and that is how he died, and they covered it up [by saying] that he had an accident," she said. "But we just had to leave it like that because the government then was very ruthless." How likely is it that Obama Sr. was murdered? Not very, Harvard University historian Caroline Elkins told The New Yorker. For one, she said, the president's father was a "serious, fall-down alcoholic." She also noted that it makes sense that now that their relative is president of the United States, many of Obama Sr.'s loved ones would want to make him seem more "high-ranking" and "heroic" than he was. This nearly 30-year-old case is probably closed for Obama. But will curious journalists and biographers keep digging?

Read more at The New Yorker.

Lauren is a former Deputy Editor of The Root.


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