We Were Eight Years in Power Analysis
by Ta-Nehisi Coates

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We Were Eight Years in Power Analysis

We Were Eight Years in Power is a book published in 2017 and written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, an African American author. Although the book consists of a number of essays reprinted from the Atlantic, the collection nevertheless presents a cohesive argument about the state of race relations in the United States during the eight years of the Barack Obama presidency, as well as its aftermath under President Donald Trump.

The title of the collection refers ironically to the Reconstruction period of US history, after the Civil War. During this time, African Americans briefly attained some positions of political influence in the Southern states, only for that influence to be shut down emphatically by a resurgence of white supremacy in the 1870s and the subsequent imposition of Jim Crow segregation.

Coates expresses his view that the Obama presidency represents another historical period in which hope loomed large, briefly, that the nation could make progress in overcoming the racial oppression embedded in American society as a legacy of centuries of slavery. In the collection's epilogue, entitled "The First White President," the author asserts that the ascendance of Trump demonstrates the endurance of white supremacist attitudes and structural barriers to racial equality in the nation's social and political life.