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Boy in iconic ‘Hair Like Mine’ photo with Obama heads to UofM, gets shoutout from former president

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Former President Barack Obama took to Instagram to congratulate the boy who famously touched the president’s head in an iconic 2009 White House photo. He’s all grown up now and graduating from high school.

It was a reunion with a Memphis twist.

Jacob Philadelphia was 5 years old when the photo was taken. His father was a National Security Council staffer who brought his wife and two sons to the Oval Office for a photo. The picture, later named “Hair Like Mine,” was snapped after Jacob asked the president, “Is your hair like mine?”

The moment was captured by White House photographer Pete Souza and was noted for calling attention to the importance of representation.

WASHINGTON - MAY 8:  In this handout from the The White House, U.S. President Barack Obama bends over so the son of a White House staff member can pat his head during a visit to the Oval Office May 8, 2009 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - MAY 8: In this handout from the The White House, U.S. President Barack Obama bends over so the son of a White House staff member can pat his head during a visit to the Oval Office May 8, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images)

In his Instagram post, Obama said, “White House photographer Pete Souza captured that moment and for years, the photo hung in the halls of the West Wing. It was a reminder of one of the reasons I first ran for president: that if I were to win, young people—Black kids, Hispanic kids, kids who may not have always felt like they belonged—might see more possibilities for their own future. It’s hard to believe 13 years have passed. Today, Jacob will graduate high school and continue on to the University of Memphis to study political science. And I couldn’t be more proud of him. Congratulations, Jacob, and best of luck to the Class of 2022!”

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