The New York Times published an article this weekend that included quotes from letters written by US president Obama’s father Barack Obama Sr., when he was a student struggling to find a way to study in the US. 

In the New York Times article ‘Words of Obama’s Father Still Waiting To Be Read by His Son,’ Rachel L. Swarns quoted the elder Obama’s youngest brother, Said Obama, who said in a telephone interview from Kenya this month that he hoped the records would help shed light on his sibling more fully.

The US president’s estranged father passed away in a car accident in 1982.

An inscription on the grave of Barack Obama's father bears the Swahili phrase 'May you rest in peace' in Kogelo, western Kenya © Peter Macdiarmid/Getty

He said Barack Obama Sr. had never stopped caring about the son he left behind after completing his studies in the US, recalling how he proudly showed off a photograph of his son and school progress reports of the young man who would become president. The article includes photos of father and son together during one of their brief meetings.

‘He loved his son,’ Swarns quotes Said Obama as recalling. ‘I don’t think you do such things if you don’t love your son.’

Family portraits of US Senator Barack Obama's father hang in his family house © Peter Macdiarmid/Getty

The article sparked hundreds of comments from Times readers, including this one from a MsPea in Seattle: ‘President Obama is entitled to deal with the legacy of his father in his own way. Many, many people in the US grew up with absent fathers. The rest of us aren’t expected to publicly struggle with our feelings of loss. The president wrote of his pain in his book (Dreams from My Father), and that should be enough. If he never looks at the writings of Obama, Sr., so be it. It is a deeply personal decision, and it not for others to judge.’

A family portrait with US Senator Barack Obama hangs in his family house on January 12, 2008 in Kogelo, western Kenya. Barack Hussein Obama, © Peter Macdiarmid/Getty

President Barack Obama visited his father’s native home Kenya in July 2015 for a historic two-day state visit.