Sweet, Memorable Photos of the First Family


(The Root) — Five years ago, The Root launched to deliver news and analysis focused on the issues of black Americans and the greater Diaspora. However, we'd be remiss if we didn't put our conception into context. The creation of our site in January 2008 was in large part because of the success of Barack Obama's campaign during the presidential primary elections. 

Black Twitter didn't exist then, but black folks were always discussing and parsing issues, and it reached a heightened pitch when the Obama family came into the nation's periphery. We wanted to collect those compelling black voices into one space so that we might pay homage to a political force that would forever change the trajectory of politics, black culture and the nation. 

The 2007-2008 primaries and subsequent general election were an interesting political cycle filled with lots of twists and turns. There were heated exchanges between then-Sen. Barack Obama and his opponent Hillary Clinton. In the end, Obama etched his way onto the general ticket as the Democratic candidate and went head to head with Sen. John McCain, a seasoned politico and Vietnam veteran. The selection of McCain's running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, was also a historic one for the nation. 2008 was the year for black America, but it was also the year for women. The Root aspired to be a space where folks could come and engage in those complex conversations as well.


As The Root celebrates our fifth birthday with a refreshing new look, we commemorate the fifth anniversary of Obama's 2008 election win by rounding up a few photos that capture the magic of the first family throughout the years.

The Obamas Vote

That Tuesday morning, the Obamas cast their votes at an elementary school in Chicago. Barack Obama joked that Michelle took so long to fill out her ballot he wanted to check to see if she had actually voted for him. A cute 10-year old Malia Obama watches her parents from the side. 

The First Family's Entrance at the Victory Rally


The first family walks out to cheers at the victory rally in Grant Park in Chicago.

The Man in the Mirror


President-elect Barack Obama looks at his reflection in the mirror one last time before he walks out to take the oath of office as the 44th president of the United States in 2008.

Then and Now: Barack and His Eldest, Malia


Then, Malia was the precocious 10-year-old with her mom's tall, lean, stature and her dad's oval face. Now, Malia sits in VIP seats at Beyoncé concerts and puts her hair in styles that give the president heart palpitations. And she's almost as tall as her mom and dad. Is the Ford Agency on line two in the East Wing of the White House? 

Then and Now: Obama and Sasha Obama


This is a far cry from the young lady who walked onstage after her dad's victory speech on election night in 2012 and reminded him to turn around and wave to the supporters behind him. 

Sasha Obama had a high, squeaky voice in 2008. Now, she's making silly faces in her smartphone alongside her sister at her dad's second inauguration in 2013.


PDA in the Elevator


In one of the more iconic photos of this administration, President Obama put his coat around Michelle's shoulders in an elevator as they inaugural ball-hopped from one party to the next in 2009.

Obama and His Sasha


President Obama often describes how guilty he once felt for not spending more time with his family in his children's earlier years. Here he hugs Sasha tightly, lifting her off the floor, right before she takes the elevator up to the private residence in the East Wing.

The Whispering Couple


The first lady laughs as the president leans in to whisper something in her ear at a hotel in New York City in 2011.

Can I Feel Your Hair?


A staffer's son had just gotten a haircut and asked the president if he could feel his hair to see if it felt the same. The message we hope the boy took away from this moment? If this man can be president, I can, too.

Easter Sunday 2013


The president and the first lady walk with Sasha and Malia to a 2013 Easter service at St. John's Church in Washington, D.C.

Visit to Yellowstone National Park


President Obama puts his arms around his family in a picturesque moment at Yellowstone National Park in 2009.

Barack and Michelle's Love


Barack and Michelle's first embrace at the victory rally, an act that reverberated through black America. There was a collective sigh that black families would finally project a positive, healthy image of black love for all of America to see.

Visit to MLK Memorial


The Obama family visits the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C., in 2012.

Then and Now: The First Couple


The Obamas recently celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary in August. What keeps their marriage going strong? A little bit of love and a tiny dose of fear; President Obama was recently overhead telling a U.N. official that his healthy fear of his wife helped him kick his smoking habits to the curb. 

Bo, the Family Dog


The president runs down the East Colonnade with family dog Bo.

2011 Family Portrait


The official first family portrait in 2011.

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