Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, was born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, in the state of Hawaii to Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. (1936–1982) (born in Kanyadhiang, Rachuonyo District, Nyanza Province, Kenya Colony, British Empire) and Stanley Ann Dunham, known as Ann (1942–1995) (born in Wichita, Kansas).
*1 Education summary
*2 Childhood years
o 2.1 Parents' background and meeting
o 2.2 Indonesia
o 2.3 Return to Hawaii
* 3 Adult life
o 3.1 College years
o 3.2 Early career in Chicago
o 3.3 Harvard Law School
o 3.4 Settling down in Chicago
o 3.5 Project Vote
o 3.6 1992–1996
|Kindergarten||1966–1967||Noelani Elementary School||Honolulu, Hawaii|
|First grade||1967–1968||St. Francis Assisi Catholic||Jakarta, Indonesia|
|Second grade||1968–1969||St. Francis Assisi Catholic||Jakarta, Indonesia|
|Third grade||1969–1970||St. Francis Assisi Catholic||Jakarta, Indonesia|
|Fourth grade||1970–1971||State Elementary School Menteng 01||Jakarta, Indonesia|
|Fifth grade||1971–1972||Punahou School||Honolulu, Hawaii|
|Sixth grade||1972–1973||Punahou School||Honolulu, Hawaii|
|Seventh grade||1973–1974||Punahou School||Honolulu, Hawaii|
|Eighth grade||1974–1975||Punahou School||Honolulu, Hawaii|
|Ninth grade||1975–1976||Punahou School||Honolulu, Hawaii|
|Tenth grade||1976–1976||Punahou School||Honolulu, Hawaii|
|11th grade||1977–1978||Punahou School||Honolulu, Hawaii|
|12th grade||1978–1979||Punahou School||Honolulu, Hawaii||High school diploma|
|Freshman year||1979–1980||Occidental College||Los Angeles, California|
|Sophomore year||1980–1981||Occidental College||Los Angeles, California||Transferred to Columbia University|
|Junior year||1981–1982||Columbia University||New York, New York||Political science major with international relations focus|
|Senior year||1982–1983||Columbia University||New York, New York||B.A.||Political science major with international relations focus|
|1988–1991||Harvard Law School||Cambridge, Massachusetts||J.D. magna cum laude||President, Harvard Law Review|
Parents' background and meeting
Obama's parents met in a basic Russian language course while both were attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where Obama's father was enrolled as a foreign student. Obama was born on August 4, 1961 at the Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women & Children in Honolulu, Hawaii; his birth was announced in The Honolulu Advertiser and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, with his parents' address listed as 6085 Kalaniana'ole Highway—his maternal grandparents' home. Old friends in Mercer Island, Washington recall his mother visiting them with her new baby later on that summer. She subsequently enrolled at the University of Washington, and lived in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle as a single mother with her son. She and her son left Seattle in the summer of 1962 and she re-enrolled at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
In 1963, Obama moved to 1427 Alexander Street, Apartment 110, which still existed in 2009. Later that year, Obama's mother's address was listed in the University of Hawaii directory as 2277 Kamehameha Ave. His parents divorced in January 1964. After the separation, Obama, his mother and maternal grandparents moved to 2234 University Avenue, a single story home in the Manoa area of Honolulu, near Noelani Elementary School. His father received a Masters degree in Economics from Harvard University, then returned to his native Kenya, where he became a finance minister before dying in an automobile accident in Nairobi in 1982.
Obama attended kindergarten at Noelani Elementary School, near his home in Honolulu.While still resident in Manoa, Dunham married Indonesian student Lolo Soetoro who was attending the University of Hawaii.When Suharto, a military leader in Soetoro's home country, came to power in 1967, all students studying abroad were recalled and the family moved to Indonesia. During his time in Indonesia, Obama attended local schools in Jakarta, from ages 6 to 10, where classes were taught in the Indonesian language. He first attended St. Francis Assisi Catholic school for almost three years.
When his family moved to a new neighborhood, Menteng,he attended the secular, government-run SDN Menteng 1 school (also known as the Besuki school) for his fourth year. Obama was a Cub Scout while living in Indonesia.Obama's half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng remembered Obama's stepfather as "not religious", and "never went to prayer services except for big communal events." When Obama was in third grade he wrote an essay saying that he wanted to become president. His teacher later told the Chicago Tribune that she was not sure what country he wanted to become president of but that he said that his reason was that he wanted to make everybody happy.While living in Indonesia, Obama was known to his playmates and at school as "Barry Soetoro", a combination of the nickname his family gave him and his stepfather's surname.
Return to Hawaii
After returning to his native Honolulu for high school, Obama lived with his maternal grandparents at 1617 S. Beretania, Apt. 1206 and two years later at Apt. 1008. In 1973, Obama's mother returned to Honolulu and lived in one of the 9 apartments at 1839 Poki Street. Obama attended Punahou School, a private school in Honolulu. He worked at a nearby Baskin Robbins, which still stands in 2009. His maternal grandparents lived at the Punahou Circle apartments on South Beretania Street, Honolulu, while attending Punahou School, a private college preparatory school, from the fifth grade until his graduation in 1979.Obama's mother, Ann, died of ovarian cancer and uterine cancer a few months after the publication of his 1995 memoir, Dreams from My Father.
In his memoir, Obama describes his experiences growing up in his mother's middle class family. His knowledge about his African father, who returned once for a brief visit in 1971, came mainly through family stories and photographs. Of his early childhood, Obama writes: "That my father looked nothing like the people around me — that he was black as pitch, my mother white as milk — barely registered in my mind." The book describes his struggles as a young adult to reconcile social perceptions of his multiracial heritage. He wrote that he used alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine during his teenage years to "push questions of who I was out of my mind". Obama has said that it was a seriously misguided mistake. At the Saddleback Civil Presidential Forum Barack Obama identified his high-school drug use as his greatest moral failure.Obama has stated he has not used any illegal drugs since he was a teenager.
Some of his fellow students at Punahou School later told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin that Obama was mature for his age as a high school student and that he sometimes attended parties and other events in order to associate with African American college students and military service people. Reflecting later on his formative years in Honolulu, Obama wrote: "The opportunity that Hawaii offered — to experience a variety of cultures in a climate of mutual respect — became an integral part of my world view, and a basis for the values that I hold most dear." During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama took a trip to Hawaii to visit his dying grandmother and suspended his campaign.
Following high school, Obama moved to Los Angeles in 1979, where he studied at Occidental College for two years. On February 18, 1981, he made his first public speech, calling for Occidental's divestment from South Africa. In the summer of 1981, Obama traveled to Jakarta, Indonesia to visit his mother and sister Maya, and visited the families of Occidental College friends in Hyderabad, India and Karachi, Pakistan for three weeks.
He then transferred to Columbia College in New York City, where he majored in political science with a specialization in international relations. Obama lived off campus in a modest rented apartment at 142 West 109th St. He graduated with a B.A. from Columbia in 1983, then worked at Business International Corporation and New York Public Interest Research Group.
Early career in Chicago
After four years living in New York City, Obama moved to Chicago to work as a community organizer. He worked for three years from June 1985 to May 1988 as director of the Developing Communities Project (DCP), a church-based community organization originally comprising eight Catholic parishes in Greater Roseland (Roseland, West Pullman, and Riverdale) on Chicago's far South Side. During his three years as the DCP's director, its staff grew from 1 to 13 and its annual budget grew from $70,000 to $400,000, with accomplishments including helping set up a job training program, a college preparatory tutoring program, and a tenants' rights organization in Altgeld Gardens. Obama also worked as a consultant and instructor for the Gamaliel Foundation, a community organizing institute. In the summer of 1988, he traveled for the first time to Europe for three weeks then to Kenya for five weeks where he met many of his paternal relatives for the first time.
Harvard Law School
Obama entered Harvard Law School in late 1988. In an interview with Ebony in 1990, he stated that he saw a degree in law as a vehicle to facilitate better community organization and activism: "The idea was not only to learn how to hope and dream about different possibilities, but to know how the tax structure affects what kind of housing gets built where." At the end of his first year he was selected as an editor of the Harvard Law Review based on his grades and a writing competition. In February 1990, his second year at Harvard, he was elected president of the law review, a full-time volunteer position functioning as editor-in-chief and supervising the law review's staff of 80 editors.Obama's election as the first black president of the law review was widely reported and followed by several long, detailed profiles. He got himself elected by convincing a crucial swing bloc of conservatives that he would protect their interests if they supported him. Building up that trust was done with the same kind of long listening sessions he had used in the poor neighborhoods of South Side, Chicago. Richard Epstein, who later taught at the University of Chicago Law School when Obama later taught there, said Obama was elected editor "because people on the other side believed he would give them a fair shake."[
While in law school he worked as an associate at the law firms of Sidley & Austin in 1989, where he met his wife, Michelle, and where Newton N. Minow was a managing partner. Minow later would introduce Obama to some of Chicago's top business leaders. In the summer of 1990 he worked at Hopkins & Sutter. Also during his law school years, Obama spent eight days in Los Angeles taking a national training course on Alinsky methods of organizing. He graduated with a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard in 1991 and returned to Chicago.
Settling down in Chicago
The publicity from his election as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review led to a contract and advance to write a book about race relations. In an effort to recruit him to their faculty, the University of Chicago Law School provided Obama with a fellowship and an office to work on his book. He originally planned to finish the book in one year, but it took much longer as the book evolved into a personal memoir. In order to work without interruptions, Obama and his wife, Michelle, traveled to Bali where he wrote for several months. The manuscript was finally published as Dreams from My Father in mid-1995.
He married Michelle LaVaughn Robinson in 1992 and settled down with her in Hyde Park, a liberal, integrated, middle-class Chicago neighborhood with a history of electing reform-minded politicians independent of the Daley political machine. The couple's first daughter, Malia Ann, was born in 1998; their second, Natasha (known as Sasha), in 2001.
One effect of the marriage was to bring Obama closer to other politically influential Chicagoans. One of Michelle's best friends was Jesse Jackson's daughter, Santita, later the godmother of the Obamas' first child. Michelle herself had worked as an aide to Mayor Richard M. Daley. Marty Nesbitt, a young, successful black businessman (who played basketball with Michelle's brother, Craig Robinson), became Obama's best friend and introduced him to other African-American business people. Before the marriage, according to Craig, Obama talked about his political ambitions, even saying that he might run for president someday.
Obama directed Illinois Project Vote from April to October 1992, a voter registration drive, officially nonpartisan, that helped Carol Moseley Braun become the first black woman ever elected to the Senate. He headed up a staff of 10 and 700 volunteers that achieved its goal of 400,000 registered African Americans in the state, leading Crain's Chicago Business to name Obama to its 1993 list of "40 under Forty" powers to be. Although fundraising was not required for the position when Obama was recruited for the job, he started an active campaign to raise money for the project. According to Sandy Newman, who founded Project Vote, Obama "raised more money than any of our state directors had ever done. He did a great job of enlisting a broad spectrum of organizations and people, including many who did not get along well with one another."
The fundraising brought Obama into contact with the wealthy, liberal elite of Chicago, some of whom became supporters in his future political career. Through one of them he met David Axelrod, who later headed Obama's campaign for president. The fundraising committee was chaired by John Schmidt, a white former chief of staff to Mayor Richard M. Daley, and John W. Rogers Jr., a young black money manager and founder of Ariel Capital Management. Obama also met much of the city's black political leadership, although he didn't always get along with the older politicians, with friction sometimes developing over Obama's reluctance to spend money and his insistence on results. "He really did it, and he let other people take all the credit", Schmidt later said. "The people standing up at the press conferences were Jesse Jackson and Bobby Rush and I don't know who else. Barack was off to the side and only the people who were close to it knew he had done all the work."
Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School for twelve years, as a Lecturer for four years (1992–1996), and as a Senior Lecturer for eight years (1996–2004). During this time he taught courses in due process and equal protection, voting rights, and racism and law. He published no legal scholarship, and turned down tenured positions, but served eight years in the Illinois Senate during his twelve years at the university.
In 1993 Obama joined Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, a 12-attorney law firm specializing in civil rights litigation and neighborhood economic development, where he was an associate for three years from 1993 to 1996, then of counsel from 1996 to 2004, with his law license becoming inactive in 2002. The firm was well-known among influential Chicago liberals and leaders of the black community, and the firm's Judson H. Miner, who met with Obama to recruit him before Obama's 1991 graduation from law school, had been counsel to former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, although the law firm often clashed with the administration of Mayor Richard M. Daley. The 29-year-old law student made it clear in his initial interview with Miner that he was more interested in joining the firm to learn about Chicago politics than to practice law. During the four years Obama worked as a full time lawyer at the firm, he was involved in 30 cases and accrued 3,723 billable hours.
Obama was a founding member of the board of directors of Public Allies in 1992, resigning before his wife, Michelle, became the founding executive director of Public Allies Chicago in early 1993. He served on the board of directors of the Woods Fund of Chicago, which in 1985 had been the first foundation to fund Obama's DCP, from 1993–2002, and served on the board of directors of The Joyce Foundation from 1994–2002.Membership on the Joyce and Wood foundation boards, which gave out tens of millions of dollars to various local organizations while Obama was a member, helped Obama get to know and be known by influential liberal groups and cultivate a network of community activists that later supported his political career.Obama served on the board of directors of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge from 1995–2002, as founding president and chairman of the board of directors from 1995–1999. He also served on the board of directors of the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, and the Lugenia Burns Hope Center. In 1995, Obama also announced his candidacy for a seat in the Illinois state Senate and attended Louis Farrakhan's Million Man March in Washington, DC.
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