Obama’s Coming to the Apollo


An estimated 24,000 people came to see Barack Obama at a rally in Washington Square Park in September. He’s coming to the Apollo on Thursday.
Photo by Mollye Chudacoff

By Julie Bolcer

Thursday night is Obama Time at the Apollo, as the Democratic presidential contender plans to make a highly anticipated visit to legendary Harlem theater in the heart of Clinton Country on 125th Street. On Nov. 29th, the grassroots organizations, Harlem4Obama and Generation Obama, will host the U.S. Senator from Illinois for a $50-per-person fundraiser at the world famous Apollo Theater, which seats just under 1,500.

Finally stepping into the historically African-American neighborhood, where Clinton enjoys the support of establishment figures such as Congressman Charles Rangel, may indicate that Barack Obama is trying to open a new front in the hyped battle for the black vote. An oft-cited recent poll showed that Clinton carried a 57 percent to 33 percent lead over Obama among black registered Democrats overall.

Obama last rallied in New York City on September 27, when he drew an estimated 24,000 people to a late afternoon rally in Washington Square Park. Since then, he has continued to trail frontrunner Hillary Clinton in national polls, and he recently announced his intention to go on the offensive and act more aggressively toward her.

The clock is ticking for Obama, who will attempt to raise his profile in Harlem as New York prepares for its presidential primary on February 5. A timely endorsement from the Rev. Al Sharpton, who has yet to endorse a candidate for president, could surely help.