Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States .
Barack Obama was born to a white American mother, Ann Dunham, and a black Kenyan father,Barack Obama Sr., who were both young college students at the University of Hawaii. When his father left for Harvard, she and Barack stayed behind, and his father ultimately returned alone to Kenya, where he worked as a government economist. Baracks mother remarried an Indonesian oil manager and moved to Jakarta when Barack was six. He later recounted Indonesia as simultaneously lush and a harrowing exposure to tropical poverty. He returned to Hawaii, where he was brought up largely by his grandparents. The family lived in a small apartment his grandfather was a furniture salesman and an unsuccessful insurance agent and his grandmother worked in a bank but Barack managed to get into Punahou School, Hawaiis top prep academy. His father wrote to him regularly but, though he traveled around the world on official business for Kenya, he visited only once, when Barack was ten.
bama attended Columbia University, but found New Yorks racial tension inescapable. He became a community organizer for a small Chicago church based group for three years, helping poor South Side residents cope with a wave of plant closings. He then attended Harvard Law School, and in 1990 became the first African American editor of the Harvard Law Review. He turned down a prestigious judicial clerkship, choosing instead to practice civil rights law back in Chicago, representing victims of housing and employment discrimination and working on voting rights legislation. He also began teaching at the University of Chicago Law School, and married Michelle Robinson, a fellow attorney. Eventually he was elected to the Illinois state senate, where his district included both Hyde Park and some of the poorest ghettos on the South Side.
In 2004 Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat, representing Illinois, and he gained national attention by giving a rousing and well received keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. In 2008 he ran for President, and despite having only four years of national political experience, he won. In January 2009, he was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, and the first African American ever elected to that position. Obama was reelected to a second term in November 2012.
Born on August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii, Barack Obama is the 44th and current president of the United States. He was a civil rights lawyer and teacher before pursuing a political career. He was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996, serving from 1997 to 2004. He was elected to the U.S. presidency in 2008, and won re election in 2012 against Republican challenger Mitt Romney. President Obama continues to enact policy changes in response to the issues of health care and economic crisis.
3. Early life
Barack Hussein Obama was born on August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii. His mother, Ann Dunham, grew up in Wichita, Kansas, where her father worked on oil rigs during the Great Depression. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dunhams father, Stanley, enlisted in the service and marched across Europe in Pattons army. Dunhams mother, Madelyn, went to work on a bomber assembly line. After the war, the couple studied on the G.I. Bill, bought a house through the Federal Housing Program and, after several moves, landed in Hawaii.Barack Obamas father, Barack Obama Sr., was born of Luo ethnicity in Nyanza Province, Kenya. Obama Sr. grew up herding goats in Africa, eventually earning a scholarship that allowed him to leave Kenya and pursue his dreams of college in Hawaii. While studying at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, Obama Sr. met fellow student Ann Dunham, and they married on February 2, 1961. Barack was born six months later.
Obama did not have a relationship with his father as a child. When his son was still an infant, Obama Sr. relocated to Massachusetts to attend Harvard University, pursuing a Ph.D. Baracks parents officially separated several months later and ultimately divorced in March 1964, when their son was 2. In 1965, Obama Sr. returned to Kenya.In 1965, Dunham married Lolo Soetoro, an East West Center student from Indonesia. A year later, the family moved to Jakarta, Indonesia, where Baracks half sister, Maya Soetoro Ng, was born. Several incidents in Indonesia left Dunham afraid for her sons safety and education so, at the age of 10, Barack was sent back to Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents. His mother and sister later joined them.
While living with his grandparents, Obama enrolled in the esteemed Punahou Academy, excelling in basketball and graduating with academic honors in 1979. As one of only three black students at the school, Obama became conscious of racism and what it meant to be African American. He later described how he struggled to reconcile social perceptions of his multiracial heritage with his own sense of self: I began to notice there was nobody like me in the Sears, Roebuck Christmas catalog and that Santa was a white man, he said. I went to the bathroom and stood in front of the mirror with all my senses and limbs seemingly intact, looking the way I had always looked, and wondered if something was wrong with me.Obama also struggled with the absence of his father, who he saw only once more after his parents divorced, when Obama Sr. visited Hawaii for a short time in 1971. [My father] had left paradise, and nothing that my mother or grandparents told me could obviate that single, unassailable fact, he later reflected. They couldnt describe what it might have been like had he stayed.
Ten years later, in 1981, tragedy struck Obama Sr. He was involved in a serious car accident, losing both of his legs as a result. Confined to a wheelchair, he also lost his job. In 1982, Obama Sr. was involved in yet another car accident while traveling in Nairobi. This time, however, the crash was fatal. Obama Sr. died on November 24, 1982, when Barack was 21 years old. At the time of his death, my father remained a myth to me, Obama later said, both more and less than a man.After high school, Obama studied at Occidental College in Los Angeles for two years. He then transferred to Columbia University in New York, graduating in 1983 with a degree in political science. After working in the business sector for two years, Obama moved to Chicago in 1985. There, he worked on the South Side as a community organizer for low income residents in the Roseland and the Altgeld Gardens communities.
5. Law career
It was during this time that Barack Obama, who said he was not raised in a religious household, joined the Trinity United Church of Christ. He also visited relatives in Kenya, which included an emotional visit to the graves of his biological father and paternal grandfather. For a long time I sat between the two graves and wept, Obama said. I saw that my life in America the black life, the white life, the sense of abandonment I felt as a boy, the frustration and hope Id witnessed in Chicago all of it was connected with this small plot of earth an ocean away.
Obama returned from Kenya with a sense of renewal, entering Harvard Law School in 1988. The next year, he met Michelle Robinson, an associate at the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin. She was assigned to be Obamas adviser during a summer internship at the firm, and not long after, the couple began dating. Their first kiss took place outside of a Chicago shopping center where a plaque featuring a photo of the couple kissing was installed more than two decades later, in August 2012. In February 1990, Obama was elected the first African American editor of the Harvard Law Review. He graduated from Harvard, magna cum laude, in 1991.
After law school, Obama returned to Chicago to practice as a civil rights lawyer, joining the firm of Miner, Barnhill & Galland. He also taught part time at the University of Chicago Law School (1992 2004) first as a lecturer and then as a professor and helped organize voter registration drives during Bill Clintons 1992 presidential campaign. On October 3, 1992, he and Michelle were married. They moved to Kenwood, on Chicagos South Side, and welcomed two daughters several years later: Malia (born 1998) and Sasha (born 2001).
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