Obama Reunites with Boy who Asked to Touch his Hair 13 Years Ago

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Five-year-old Jacob Philadelphia meets President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House on May 8, 2009.
Five-year-old Jacob Philadelphia meets President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House on May 8, 2009.

Former President Barack Obama had many iconic moments captured in images during his time in office. One picture was of a little Black boy, Jacob Philadelphia, grazing the top of Obama’s head with his hand. Philadelphia, now 18, has reunited with the former president for the first time since they met 13 years ago, reported Business Insider.

Philadelphia had visited the White House in 2009 with his father, who was a National Security Council staffer at the time. In the Oval Office, Jacob said to Obama, “I want to know if my hair is just like yours,” reports said. Obama responded, “Why don’t you touch it and see for yourself?”

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The precious moment was captured by photographer Pete Souza and titled “Hair Like Mine.” The two reunited virtually in celebration of Philadelphia’s graduation from the International School of Uganda.

More from Business Insider:

Obama during the video call with Jacob remarked on the personal significance of the photo.

“I think this picture embodied one of the hopes that I had when I first started running for office,” the former president said.

He continued: “I remember telling Michelle and some of my staff, you know, I think that if I were to win, the day I was sworn into office, young people, particularly African-American people, people of color, outsiders, folks who maybe didn’t always feel like they belonged, they’d look at themselves differently. To see a person who looked like them in the Oval Office. It would speak to Black kids and Latino kids and gay kids and young girls — how they could see the world open up for them.”

Philadelphia said when he was younger he didn’t completely understand the role of the president and felt intimidated when he arrived to the Oval Office. However, the moment redefined what it means to be a man in power.

“It is very wonderful to see representation in the government because if I get to see another Black man be at the top, be at that pinnacle, then I want to follow that lead.”

Philadelphia is now planning to study political science at the University of Memphis, per Insider.