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New documentary ties Obama to Indiana

KEMPTON, Ind. (WISH) — There’s a new documentary film that explains President Obama’s Indiana roots. It’s the story of a home in Tipton County once owned by his ancestors

The Dunham House in Kempton, Indiana was built by Jacob Dunham, Barack Obama’s great-great-great-great grandfather on his mother’s side. “The Roots of Destiny” is the documentary and it’s an official bicentennial legacy project.

“I owe a debt to all of those who came before me,” the President’s words lead off the documentary, produced by Indianapolis filmmaker John Kleiman.

He began work on the project four years ago, and after some bumps in the road, is now ready to show it to audiences.

It’s the story of Shawn Clements and his efforts to preserve a 17th century house on the edge of Kempton, Indiana in Tipton County, as well as the history behind it .

Clements purchased the Dunham House in 2003. Only later did he learn that it belonged to members of Barack Obama’s family.

“It was a surprise to him,” said Kleiman. “I think that from the documentary, people are going to be surprised at the ancestral history of our President.”

Members of the Dunham family help tell the story, a story given credibility when candidate Barack Obama, along with his wife and children, visited in 2008.

Profits from the documentary will go to a foundation that grants college scholarships to Indiana students.

“I hope that the house can be an example of a reason why people should care about history,” said Clements, “and why they should preserve old buildings and old houses because that is what preserves the story of us.”

The “Roots of Destiny” premiere will take place at the Ricks Centre for the Arts in Greenfield on April 30.

Producers hope to present additional showings in connection with bicentennial events around the state.

Tickets are available here and here.