In his 1998 book, A Kind and Just Parent: The Children of Juvenile Court, Bill Ayers calls Jarrett’s mother a “neighbor and a friend.”
Obama and Bill Ayers once funded Erikson together. The Erikson Institute was among the first 35 school partnerships awarded funds in December 1995 by the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Ayers was a founder of the Annenberg Challenge; Obama was hired in 1995 as the group’s first chairman.
In 2009, Erickson was awarded just shy of $5 million from Obama’s stimulus legislation.
The Times profile briefly mentions Jarrett’s grandfather and father but not her father-in-law, who may have been instrumental in introducing her to Obama and who himself is tied to the president.
The Times reported that Obama and Valerie Jarrett “met more than two decades ago, when Ms. Jarrett – a lawyer, like both Obamas – offered Mrs. Obama a job in the Chicago mayor’s office.”
However, Jarrett may have been introduced to the Obamas through her father-in-law, Vernon Jarrett, a communist sympathizer who worked closely with Obama mentor Frank Marshall Davis, as this column was first to report. Davis, a Communist Party activist, has been identified as an early influence on Obama.
Vernon Jarrett and Davis worked together in 1940 in a Communist Party-dominated organization, the Citizen’s Committee to Aid Packing House Workers. The group’s own correspondence, uncovered by the New Zeal blog, describes its communist influence. Many of its leaders were tied to the Communist Party.
The pair also frequented the South Side Community Art Center, which was dominated by communists. In addition, Davis and Vernon Jarrett worked in the late 1940s on the communist-influenced, black-run Chicago Defender newspaper.