HBO is set to premier a three-part documentary on the the 44th President of the United States Barack Obama with Obama: In Pursuit Of A More Perfect Union. The series will air over three days, debuting Tuesday, August 3 (9:00-10:40 p.m. ET/PT), with additional parts airing Wednesday and Thursday at the same time. The docuseries chronicles the personal and political journey of President Barack Obama, as the country grapples with its racial history. The docuseries is directed by Emmy winner Peter Kunhardt (HBO’s True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight For Equality, John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls, King in the Wilderness).
Obama: In Pursuit Of A More Perfect Union weaves together conversations with colleagues, friends and critics, and interspersed with his own speeches and news interviews, the series begins with Obama’s childhood and takes us through his perspective as the son of a white mother from Kansas and an African father, his spiritual formation by a generation of Black leaders, and his hopes for a more inclusive America. Through the story of one man irrevocably bound to the history of a country, Obama: In Pursuit Of A More Perfect Union reflects on the country’s past and present national identity.
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 the series 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 the audience 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 viewers 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 series is a presentation of HBO Documentary Films in association with Kunhardt Films Productions. Obama is produced by George Kunhardt, Teddy Kunhardt, Matthew O. Henderson; edited and produced by Maya Mumma, ACE. Executive producers are Peter Kunhardt; Andi Bernstein and Mona Sutphen; Jelani Cobb and Jacqueline Glover. For HBO, Sara Rodriguez serves as senior producer; Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller serve as executive producers.
Scroll to the top to view the trailer for the special three night HBO event – Obama: In Pursuit Of A More Perfect Union documentary.