Distinguished presidential scholar and 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner for history Annette Gordon-Reed puts American race relations in a historical context, with an emphasis on the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson's, complicated relationship with African Americans.
The man who doubted that blacks and whites could live together as equal citizens in the American nation wrote the document that blacks look to as the promise of their right to equal citizenship in the country, the Declaration of Independence.
Obama, as have other blacks, has referred to this promise and invoked the founders on many occasions. Gordon-Reed will discuss his uses of history and talk about how having a black president and black first lady - and black children - in the White House may change the racial landscape in America and the ways in which it may not change the narrative.
Annette Gordon-Reed is Professor of Law at New York Law School and Professor of History at Rutgers University.
Co-presented with The Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the US Studies Centre and School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (SOPHI)