A Biography of Barack Obama

Early Life
It all started when Barack Obama’s parents met in the 1960s in a Russian language class at the University of Hawaii. His father was a foreign student on scholarship from Nyanza Province, Kenya. The couple got married on February 2, 1961. Obama was born later in that same year in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 4th 1961.  Obama’s parents later divorced in 1964. Obama was only two at the time. After the divorce, Obama’s dad returned to Kenya. Obama only saw him once more before he died in a car accident in 1982. Later, Obama’s mom married an Indonesian student named Lolo Soetoro. When a military leader came to power in Soetoro’s home country, all Indonesian students in foreign countries were recalled and the family moved to the island nation in 1967. From age six to ten, Obama attended school in Jakarta.   In 1971, Obama returned to Honolulu to live with his grandparents Madelyn and Stanley Dunham. He attended to Punahou School, a private school from grades fifth to high school graduation in 1979. His mom came to Honolulu a year later and stayed until 1977 when she was relocated back to Indonesia to work as an anthropological field worker. Obama’s mother returned one last time to Honolulu, living there for about a year before dying of ovarian cancer. 

College Years
After high school, Obama moved to Los Angeles in 1979 to attend Occidental College. Later, after attending two years, he moved to Columbia University in New York, where he majored in political science with a specialization in international relations. He went on to graduate in 1983 with a B.A. After that, he worked for a year at the Business International Corporation and the New York Public Interest Research Group.  Later, after four years in New York, Obama moved to Chicago. In Chicago, he was hired as director of the Developing Communities Project (DCP). He work there from June 1985 to May 1988. Also during this time, he worked for Gamaliel Foundation, another community organizing institute.  In 1988, he traveled to Europe for the first time and stayed for three weeks before going to Kenya where he met many of his relatives on his father's side for the first time.  Obama started attending Harvard Law School late in 1988. He returned to Chicago to work as a summer associate. He worked at the law firms of Sadly & Austin during 1989 and the next summer for Hopkins & Sutter. Obama graduated in 1991 from Harvard with a J.D. then went back to Chicago.  Then, from April to October 1992, Obama was the director of Illinois’s "Project Vote." After that, for twelve years, he worked as a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago Law School. 


Political Career
In 1996, Obama was elected to the Illinois Senate for the 13th District which covered a span of Chicago’s south side. While Senator, Obama gained bipartisan support. He approved a law increasing tax credits for low-income workers, negotiated welfare reform, and approved increased subsidies for childcare. Obama also supported reforming ethics and health care laws.  In January 2003, Obama became chairman of the Illinois Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee. He approved and led a unanimous passage of legislation to monitor racial profiling. After that, Illinois became the first state to mandate videotaping  homicide interrogations. During Obama’s 2004 election campaign for U.S. Senate, police representatives gave Obama credit for enacting the death penalty reforms. Obama later resigned from the Illinois Senate in November of 2004 following his election
 to the U.S. Senate. 
       

His Presidential Candidacy
Obama announced his candidacy on February 10, 2007 in front of the Old State Capitol in Springfield Illinois. He chose that location because that was where Abraham Lincoln delivered his “House of David” speech. Many candidates entered in the Democratic Party presidential primaries, but as time went on it came down to Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton.  When all the states were counted on June 3, Obama was announced the presumptive nominee. Clinton later suspended her campaign and endorsed Obama on June 7. After that, Obama started to campaign against John McCain. Obama named Joe Biden as his vice presidential running mate on August 23, 2008. Later, on January 20th, 2009 Obama was sworn in as president of the United States of America. 


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