Barack Hussein Obama ( born August 4, 1961) is the 44th and current
President of the United States and the first African American to hold the
office. Obama was the junior United States Senator from Illinois from
January 2005 until November 2008, when he resigned following his election to
Barack is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review. He was a community organizer in Chicago before earning his law degree. He worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago and also taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004.
Barack served three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, Obama ran for United States Senate in 2004. His victory from a crowded field in the March 2004 Democratic primary raised his visibility, and his prime-time televised keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004 made him a rising star nationally in the Democratic Party. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2004 by the largest margin in Illinois history.
Barack Obama began his run for the presidency in February 2007. After a close campaign in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries against Hillary Rodham Clinton, he won his party's nomination, becoming the first major party African American candidate for president. In the 2008 general election, he defeated Republican candidate John McCain and was inaugurated as president on January 20, 2009.
Barack 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. Barack's 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, Hawaii's 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.
Barack attended Columbia University, but found New York's 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. Eventually he ran as a Democrat for the state senate seat from his district, which included both Hyde Park and some of the poorest ghettos on the South Side, and won.
In 2004 Barack was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat, representing Illinois, and 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 as a democrat and won. He is set to become the 44th president of the Unites States and the first African-American ever elected to that position.
This Barack Obama Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub