The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress a trenchant examination of the contested meanings of President Obama's election, from a preeminent scholar of race, politics, and American history—with a new introduction by the author. When voters in 2008 chose the United States' first Black president, some Americans hailed the event as a sign that the nation had, at long last, transcended its bloody history of racial inequality. Obama's victory was indescribably momentous, but if the intervening years proved anything, it is that we never leave history entirely behind. Indeed, this may be the ultimate lesson of the Obama era. First published in 2010, The Substance of Hope is acclaimed historian Jelani Cobb's meditation on what Obama's election represented, an insightful investigation into the civil rights movement forces that helped produce it, and a prescient inquiry into how American society does—and does not—change.