In early August of 1980, Bancroft was in Honolulu and had a chance meeting with Barack Obama. Bancroft even remembers where — in the vicinity of Kalakaua Blvd./Ave.
(Note from Eowyn: In August 1980, Obama would be 19 years old, home in Honolulu on his summer break after his first year as an undergraduate at Occidental College. Mombasa is the second largest city in Kenya.)
As recounted by Bancroft:
He [Obama] also told me something that I never forgot, for it caused me to do some other things in an effort to be nice to him and possibly a favor. We spoke of where I had been and the world as I saw it. I told him I had been to Africa, Mombasa specifically, and he said to me abruptly, “I was born there.”
I told him he is not eligible to be president if that was true, but I remembered he said his mom was an American, so, maybe it was okay.
But it was what I did after, that makes this a true memory: I went back to the barracks and told others of this guy and suggested we all grab our photo albums and visit him again and show him pictures of Mombasa so he could see where he was from.
No one wanted to go, and at that time, my camera had failed me weeks before we hit Mombasa and it was late August or early September until I had borrowed someone else’s pictures to develop myself so I had copies of where I was. But I never forgot meeting that man for those reasons. I was going to do him a favor and show him his home country of birth. And I never went back for some reason, most likely I forgot to or just felt that a one time chance encounter would be meaningless to both of us and didn’t mean we were friends.
Bancroft then closes his testimonial with the following observation:
In the light of what is called “The Birther” movement, these memories are still foremost in my mind concerning this. While I cannot swear it was Barack Obama, all the details I do remember of that chance encounter fit the profile of the man who some people claim is born in Kenya and others claim he was born in Hawaii. The man I met was about 18, thin, mulatto [mixed race], told me he was born in Mombasa, raised overseas, was living in Hawaii and hadn’t yet been to many places in the world outside of those places, mostly, hadn’t been to the mainland of America for any long time period if at all. And he openly told me he wanted to be President.
And I remember that face, the face of a young man who sat on a table to my right front, his hands resting on the edge of the table, him leaning forward, his smile, all teeth. It was Barack Obama. I don’t know if I’d bet my life on it, but I am willing to tell people openly at the risk of my ridicule. I was there, and saw him, spoke to him, and he openly told me he was born in Mombasa, Kenya, not Hawaii .
- “Yahoo! calls Kenya “country of Obama’s birth”,” June 22, 2013.
- “Kenyans say Obama was born in Kenya,” May 29, 2013.
- “Editor of Foreign Policy says Obama was born in Kenya,” Nov. 16, 2012.
- “Obama told Hawaii classmates he was Kenyan/Indonesian royalty,” Oct. 12, 2012.
- “British National Archives show a son was born to Obama Sr. in 1961 in Kenya,” Aug. 24, 2012.
- “In 2007, Obama’s literary agent still says he was born in Kenya,” May 18, 2012.
- “Kenyan official Says Obama born In Kenya,” April 13, 2010.
- “Michelle Called Kenya Obama’s Home Country,” Apr 4, 2010.
Dr. Eowyn is the Editor of Fellowship of the Minds and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.