BlackFacts Details

Obama, Barack, Jr. (1961- )

Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States and the first African American to occupy the White House.  Obama was born August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii. His father, Barack Obama Sr., was a Kenyan graduate student studying in the United States and his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, a white American from Wichita, Kansas.  The two were married on February 2, 1961 in Maui, Hawaii.  In 1971, when he was ten, Obama’s mother, who had remarried and was living in Indonesia, sent him to Honolulu, Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents Madelyn and Stanley Dunham for several years, where he attended Punahou, a prestigious preparatory school.  Obama was admitted on a scholarship with the assistance of his grandparents.

Obama continued his higher education at Occidental College, Los Angeles, California.  He later transferred to Columbia University in New York City, New York, graduating with a Bachelor’s (B.A.) in 1983.  He attended law school at Harvard University, receiving his law degree (J.D.) in 1992. While at Harvard Obama was president of the Harvard Law Review. After relocating to Chicago he began working as a community organizer and later lecturing at the University of Chicago Law School on the subject of constitutional law.

In 1989 Obama met Michelle Robinson who at the time was an attorney at the Chicago law firm of Sidney and Austin. Obama was a summer intern for the firm that year.  Three years later, in 1992, they were married.  Their two daughters, Malia and Natasha (Sasha) were born in Chicago in 1999 and 2001, respectively.

In 1994, Obama was elected to the Illinois State Senate from an economically diverse district that includes Hyde Park (surrounding the University of Chicago) as well as working class African American neighborhoods in the heart of Chicago’s South Side.  Obama remained in the State Senate until 2004.

During his tenure in the Illinois State Senate, Obama helped craft legislation to create the state Earned Income Tax Credit which reduced the tax bill of working class

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