Our Statement on the Passing of Charles Ogletree

Barack Obama
1 min readAug 5, 2023

Michelle and I are heartbroken to hear about the passing of our friend and mentor Charles Ogletree.

Charles’ reputation preceded him at Harvard Law School. On campus, people would always talk about this Professor Ogletree and how supportive and encouraging he was.

He took time on weekends to run something called “Saturday School” for Black students who didn’t necessarily have the support systems at home to get them through the difficult first years of law school. Eventually, Saturday School became so popular that students of every background began showing up to hear Charles explain things in a way they could understand. It was an example of the kind of person Charles has always been: unfailingly helpful, and driven by a genuine concern for others.

Over the years, Michelle and I have always been able to count on Charles’s support, often when we needed it the most. And after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he got to work spreading awareness — especially among people of color. He wanted to be a spokesperson for the disease, telling people not to be afraid.

Our thoughts are with his wife Pamela, his entire family, and everyone who knew and loved this remarkable man.