Barack Obama hasn’t been the president for nearly two years, but his fame is still spreading – at least when it comes to naming things after him.
The nation’s first African-American president need not go far around the country these days to find something that carries his name. There’s Barack Obama Way in New Albany Township, Indiana, and Barack Obama Boulevard in Pahokee, Florida. There’s a long list of schools now named for him, like Barack Obama Academy for Academic & Civic Development in Plainfield, New Jersey, and Barack Obama Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia.
Obama even has animal species named after him, like placida barackobamai, a sea slug.
We’re probably seeing the “opening salvos” in the Obama naming marathon, said presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, who expects the former president’s name to start showing up in heavily Democratic or predominately African-American communities.
As Obama becomes even more of an elder statesman, his fame could rank right up there with Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Theodore Roosevelt and become bipartisan, said Brinkley, a professor at Rice University in Texas.
“At the end of the line, 20 or 30 years from now, there will be hundreds of hospitals, schools, bridges and statutes” in his honor, said Brinkley, whose most recent book is “Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America.” “He’s going to be one of the four or five most celebrated figures in U.S. history.”