A 1998 photograph shows a young Barack Obama as a member of the Black Panther Party.
Images suggesting that Barack Obama was an active member of the Black Panthers in his youth were a common feature of websites and social media accounts prone to spreading misinformation during his 2008 presidential campaign and subsequent tenure in the White House. The following is one such example:
This image of Barack Obama as a young Black Panther is a doctored one.
Below is the original, unaltered photograph, first published to the web no later than 27 December 2009, showing two individuals in front of various symbols of the New Black Panther Party (a militant group with little to do with the original Black
On 23 July 2014, the web site Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children shared the altered image and then deleted it (presumably because someone pointed out the photograph was not an authentic depiction of President Obama).
The precise source of the unaltered photograph is unclear, as versions of it posted online were invariably found on sites that used it as a general illustration of content relating to Black Panthers rather than discussion of a specific event. A visible date stamp appeared to suggest the original photograph was taken in 1998.
A Word to Our Loyal Readers
Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.
- David Mikkelson
- Doreen Marchionni
- David Emery
- Bond Huberman
- Jordan Liles
- Alex Kasprak
- Dan Evon
- Dan MacGuill
- Bethania Palma
- Liz Donaldson
- Vinny Green
- Ryan Miller
- Chris Reilly
- Chad Ort
- Elyssa Young
Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.
We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.
Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.