Back in the day (whenever the @$%& that was), people used to consider someone ‘black’ if they had a certain percentage of African-American blood in their family tree (these days, I hear that you aren’t really black — enough — unless you vote Democrat). According to sources quoted by the International Herald Tribune’s Beverly Gage,
In the early 1920s, [historian William Estabrook] Chancellor helped assemble a controversial biographical portrait accusing President Warren Harding of covering up his family’s “colored” past. According to the family tree Chancellor created, Harding was actually the great-grandson of a black woman. Under the one-drop rule of American race relations, Chancellor claimed, the country had inadvertently elected its “first Negro president.”
In today’s presidential landscape, many Americans view the prospect of a black man in the Oval Office as a sign of progress — evidence of a “postracial” national consciousness. In the white-supremacist heyday of the 1920s (the Ku Klux Klan had a major revival during the Harding years), the taint of “Negro blood” was political death. The Harding forces hit back hard against Chancellor, driving him out of his job and destroying all but a handful of published copies of his book.
It’s possible that all the ‘evidence’ stacked up could have been manufactured by the political enemies of President Harding; what is amusing in our time is that it looks like the only real thing that strongly relates Obama to Harding is the unrestrained behavior of the current candidate’s ‘Truth Squads‘.