- NAME: Barack Obama
- OCCUPATION: Lawyer, U.S. President, U.S. Representative
- BIRTH DATE: August 04, 1961 (Age: 52)
- Did You Know?: After serving as an Illinois senator, Barack Obama was elected the first African-American president of the United States.
- EDUCATION: Punahou Academy, Occidental College, Columbia University, Harvard Law School
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Honolulu, Hawaii
- Full Name: Barack Hussein Obama, Jr.
- AKA: Barack Obama
- ZODIAC SIGN: Leo
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Barack Obama is the 44th and current president of the United States, and the first African American to serve as U.S. president. First elected to the presidency in 2008, he won a second term in 2012.
Born in Honolulu, Barack Obama went on to become President of the Harvard Law Review. In 2008, he was elected President of the United States, becoming the first African-American commander-in-chief.
On November 4th, 2008, Barack Obama was elected President, making him the first African-American President of the United States. His victory made a powerful statement about how far the country has come on the issue of race.
Barack Obama's rise in politics from his first step into the public sphere to being elected State Senator of Illinois.
A look at the events of Barack Obama's childhood and youth that influenced and shaped him into the person he is today.
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Obama published an autobiography, Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, in 1995. The work received high praise from literary figures like Toni Morrison and has since been printed in 10 languages, including Chinese, Swedish and Hebrew. The book had a second printing in 2004, and was adapted for a children's version. The 2006 audiobook version of Dreams, narrated by Obama,
received a Grammy Award (best spoken word album).
Obama's advocacy work led him to run for a seat in the Illinois State Senate. He ran as a Democrat, and won election in 1996. During these years, Obama worked with both Democrats and Republicans to draft legislation on ethics, and expand health care services and early childhood education programs for the poor. He also created a state earned-income tax credit for the working poor. Obama became chairman of the Illinois Senate's Health and Human Services Committee as well, and after a number of inmates on death row were found innocent, he worked with law enforcement officials to require the videotaping of interrogations and confessions in all capital cases.
In 2000, Obama made an unsuccessful Democratic primary run for the U.S. House of Representatives seat held by four-term incumbent candidate Bobby Rush. Undeterred, he created a campaign committee in 2002, and began raising funds to run for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2004. With the help of political consultant David Axelrod, Obama began assessing his prospects of a Senate win.
Following the 9/11 attacks in 2001, Obama was an early opponent of President George W. Bush's push to go to war with Iraq. Obama was still a state senator when he spoke against a resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq during a rally at Chicago's Federal Plaza in October 2002. "I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars," he said. "What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne." Despite his protests, the Iraq War began in 2003.
Obama, encouraged by poll numbers, decided to run for the U.S. Senate open seat vacated by Republican Peter Fitzgerald. In the 2004 Democratic primary, he won 52 percent of the vote, defeating multimillionaire businessman Blair Hull and Illinois Comptroller Daniel Hynes. That summer, he was invited to deliver the keynote speech in support of John Kerry at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Obama emphasized the importance of unity, and made veiled jabs at the Bush Administration and the diversionary use of wedge issues.
After the convention, Obama returned to his U.S. Senate bid in Illinois.
Learn more about the lives of African-Americans who have made extraordinary achievements in their fields, with our collection of Black History Groups.
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