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Like no other year before it, 2009 started off on a high note for African Americans. President Barack Obama was inaugurated. We braved the 20 degree cold weather in Washington D.C and oohed and aahed watching the first couple dance as Beyonce sang “At Last” at the Inauguration Ball. It was also the year of birthers, bailouts and teabaggers. By the summer of 2009 the recession and unemployment were felt more than ever. We talked skin color and domestic abuse and we rallied around a little girl and a Chicago teen.

President Obama’s Was Inaugurated

On that frigid January morning, an estimated 1.8 million people traveled to the nation’s capital to witness the inauguration of America’s first Black president.

Chris Brown and Rihanna

On that fateful February night R&B sweethearts Chris Brown and Rihanna had just returned from a pre-Grammy event when Brown assaulted his then girlfriend. He later pleaded guilty to one charge of felony assault and was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to stay 50 yards away from Rihanna.

Michael Steele Became the First Republican Chairman

Former Maryland lieutenant governor Michael Steele became the first African American Republican National Committee Chairman in January 2009.

The Great Recession and Unemployment

Though we had already been feeling it, the National Bureau of Economic Research did not make an official announcement of the recession until December 1, 2008. By the time President Obama was inaugurated the unemployment rate was 7.9%. Perhaps no group felt the sign of the times more than African American men who, at 17%, had an unemployment rate similar to the Great Depression.

President Obama Hosted A Beer Summit

Cambridge, Mass. police Sgt. James Crowley responded to a suspected break-in at the home of renowned African American scholar Professor Henry Louis Gates. Tempers flared, words were exchanged. Professor Gates was hauled off in handcuffs. President Obama said the officer “acted stupidly.” To make amends the President invited both men to the White House to talk over a beer.

Michael Jackson Died

Just three months after announcing his final world tour in London, MJ died on June 25, 2009 at age 50. His memorial in July 2009 was a star-studded affair watched by millions around the world.

Anthony Sowell Murdered 11 AA Women in Four Years

Cleveland police discovered the decomposing bodies of 11 African American women at the home of registered sex offender Anthony Sowell. He was charged with five counts of aggravated murder and has entered an insanity plea.

There Was An Outbreak of the H1N1 Flu Virus

Mexican authorities first noticed strains of the swine flu in early March 2009. By April nearly 54 people had died from the strain. On April 30, eleven countries reported cases of the swine flu. By the middle of the summer of 2009 nearly 160 cases of swine flu were reported.

Derrion Albert Was Brutally Killed

The 16-year-old Chicago honor roll student’s brutal killing was captured on video and sparked outrage across the country. It also reignited a conversation about violence amongst Black youth.

Shaniya Davis Was Tragically Murdered

After her mother Antoinette Davis was accused of trafficking the five-year-old to settle drug debts.

Sammy Sosa Revealed His Lighter Skin

Baseball hall of famer Sammy Sosa arrived at the Latin Grammy Awards in November with skin considerably lighter than his usual mocha complexion, causing everyone from dermatologists to news pundits to discuss the politics of skin color.

Tareq and Michaele Salahi ‘Crashed’ The White House

Reality show contenders Michaele and Tareq Salahi talked their way to the Obama administration’s first official state dinner in honor of the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

President Obama Increased Troops To Afghanistan

In a much-anticipated address to the nation President Obama laid out his plan for sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

President Obama Won the Nobel Peace Prize

The Nobel committee awarded President Barack Obama the Peace Prize just 10 months into his presidency, citing his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.

Tiger Woods Had ‘Transgressions’

A car accident outside the home of billion dollar athlete Tiger Woods let the cat out of the bag, so to speak. Within weeks, over a dozen women had come forth claiming to have had an affair with the married father of two.

Chris Henry Died In A Fatal Accident

The Cincinnati Bengals football player was tragically killed after falling from the back of a truck driven by his fiancée Loleini Tonga. The 26-year-old wide receiver was taking steps to change his life after a rough start in the NFL.

The Health Care Bill Was Approved

President Obama came into office as a champion of health care reform. On December 21, 2009, the senate signed it into reality. The bill extends insurance coverage to more than 30 million Americans.

Source Essence Read more: http://www.essence.com/news/hot_topics_4/news_year_in_news.php#6#ixzz0aW9d7THb

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