“Neither born or raised in a black home, Obama urgently wanted to be part of the African-American community. Local organizing seemed to Obama a contemporary successor to the great civil rights struggle of the sixtes – a movement that generated a deep sense of community among American blacks. So through the shared sacrifice of organizing – the poverty wages, political struggles, and act of community building – Obama hoped to earn himself a place in an African-American world to which he had previously been a stranger.”
from Radical-in-Chief by Stanley Kurtz
In Dreams From My Father, Obama says that while in college he gravitated to black power members, chicanos, feminists, Marxist professors and other fringe groups.