Angela loves history and feels it is essential to our future to know the past—or else be destined to repeat it.
Official White House Photo
All About His Family
Barack Hussein Obama II, the 44th President of the United States, made history by being the first President to represent a minority group. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961. His father, Barack H. Obama, Sr, was originally from Kenya and worked as a goat herder but eventually became an economist. His mother, Stanley Ann (Dunham) Obama Soetoro, was originally from Kansas and worked as an anthropologist. His parents divorced when he was only two years old.
From age 6 to 10, he lived in Indonesia with his mom and stepfather, Lolo Soetoro. Then in 1971, he moved back to Hawaii and lived with his mother’s parents. His grandfather, who helped raise him, served in Patton’s army and taught him that those who are blessed should serve others. He strove to accomplish this in his Presidency. They were a middle-class family who believed in hard work and education.
He attended Occidental College in Los Angeles for two years before transferring to Columbia University in New York. He graduated with a political science degree. After he graduated, he moved to Chicago, where he helped rebuild devastated communities by the closing of local steel plants alongside a group of churches. He then went to Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and graduated magna cum laude. He became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. He then moved back to Chicago, where he taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago and became active in the community. He worked as a civil rights attorney and community organizer.
After graduating from law school, he married a fellow Harvard Law School graduate, Michelle Robinson. They got married on October 3, 1992, and remain married presently. They had two beautiful daughters, Natasha (Sasha) and Malia. Both his parents died while he was still relatively young. On November 24, 1982, when he was only 21 years old, his father died in a car accident in Kenya. Thirteen years later, on November 7, 1995, his mother died of ovarian cancer at the age of 52. That same year he published his autobiography entitled Dreams from my Father.
August 4, 1961 - Hawaii
Age at Beginning of Presidency
48 years old
Term of Office
January 20, 2009 - current
How Long President
Age and Year of Death
Cause of Death
Early Politics and Winning Awards
His first political position began in 1997 when he became an Illinois state senator until 2005. He was very effective in this position. He cut taxes for working families and expanded health care for families. He also passed the first major ethics reform in 25 years. He believed that the government should be more transparent and was able to lobby for putting federal spending online so everyone could see it. He contributed to getting Illinois’ first racial profiling law to pass that would require police to videotape all homicide interrogations.
He did briefly run for a seat in the House of Representatives but lost to Bobby Rush in 2000. Then in 2004, the first race between two African-American candidates for the Senate began against Alan Keyes, Obama won a spot in the United States Senate and was sworn in on January 4, 2005.
The following year, he won a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for the reading of his autobiography Dreams from my Father. He earned a second Grammy in 2008 for Best Spoken Word Album again. This time it was for the audio version of his book, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream. Two former presidents were also nominated that year, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
Running for President
Then in 2007, he officially announced that he was going to run for President. He appeared on "Saturday Night Live" during his candidacy, surprising many and gaining popularity. He ended up winning the Democratic ticket against Hillary Clinton. He would choose Senator Joe Biden as his running mate, officially making him the first African-American candidate to lead a major party in the United States history. Joe Biden would later become a President two terms after Obama left office. The day before he was formally elected to become President of the United States, tragedy hit, and his Grandmother died at the age of 86 of cancer.
On January 20, 2009, he became the United States' first minority president. Later that year, on October 9, he won the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." He is the fourth President to earn this honor. The first three were Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Jimmy Carter. "Although some argued that he might have won this award prematurely, he continued these efforts throughout his presidency. His 2008 Campaign pledge was to end the war in Iraq, and he was able to officially announce the withdrawal of the US troops, which would happen on December 31, 2011.
President Obama and his Family
On March 23, 2010, he signed one of his most controversial bills into law: the Affordable Care Act, which would later be called Obamacare. His goal was to allow everyone to be able to afford health care. Although it eased strain for many, it was not without its glitches. Some felt that it needed to be modified; others thought it should be thrown out altogether and start over.
One a surprisingly controversial topic that arose while he was in office was the place of his birth. Many felt that he was not actually born on American soil and therefore should not be President since that is one of the requirements to hold that position. On April 27, 2011, the White House finally released his original birth certificate to rest rumors that he was not legally the President of the United States.
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A few days later, on May 1, he announced that Osama bin Laden, the al Qaeda leader who led terrorist attacks on US soil on September 11, 2001, also known as 9/11, was killed during a raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, which was considered a victory for America. In honor of this, he attended a ceremony four days later to honor the victims on that day. Obama met with many of the victims' families and the first responders of that day. He paid close attention to the "Pride of Midtown" firehouse that lost 15 men that day, which was the most of the other firehouses that helped.
One of the most controversial moves he made while President was endorsing same-sex marriage in 2012, made him the first President to do so. He also stated that each state should be able to vote on whether same-sex marriage should be legal. He continued his support of the LGBT community throughout his Presidency. On June 24, 2016, he designated an area around the Stonewall Inn in New York as a monument to that community.
Obama had a heart for people who came to the United States as young children. Although not legally American, he lived here without a choice. On June 15, 2012, he issued an executive order that would suspend the deportation of young undocumented immigrants that arrived in the United States as children.
He ran for a second term, accepting the Democratic nomination on September 6, 2012. He won the election, beating the Republican candidate Mitt Romney. He was sworn in on January 20, 2013, in a private ceremony in the Blue Room of the White House.
In his last year in office, he wanted to support the minorities that he represented, by signing a bill that updated the terms that the government would use when describing minorities. Some of the terms used thus forth were, “Asian-American,” “Native America,” “Hispanic,” and “African-American.”
During the next election, he endorsed Hillary Clinton for President.
What He's Been Up to Since He Left Office
On January 20, 2017, after two terms, he left office, leaving President Donald Trump as Commander in Chief. Although Obama has been pretty quiet on his feelings regarding Trump's administration, he did speak on one specific occasion. Barack posted a statement on his Facebook, stating that Trump's decision to undo the immigration order that protected children of undocumented immigrants from deportation was "self-defeating." He went on to say that he believed this "because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel."
- His first name means "One who is blessed" in Swahili.
- He does not like ice cream, which is something he has disliked ever since his first job at Baskin Robbins.
- He was named Time Magazines "Person of the Year" in 2008 and 2012.
- He has won two Grammys.
- He was not only the first African-American president but also the first African-American to be president of the Harvard Law Review.
- Admits to having used both marijuana and cocaine in his youth.
- He won the Nobel Peace Prize.
- Wrote a book called "Dreams from my Father."
- His father's hometown, Kogelo, Kenya, honored him by renaming their school the Senator Obama Kogelo Secondary School.
Mini Biography of President Barack Obama
- Barack Obama. (2014). Retrieved April 22, 2016, from https://www.whitehouse.gov/1600/presidents/barackobama
- "Barack Obama Fast Facts." CNN. September 18, 2017. Accessed November 14, 2017. http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/26/us/barack-obama---fast-facts/index.html.
- "The Nobel Peace Prize for 2009." Nobelprize.org. Accessed February 03, 2018. https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2009/press.html.
- Tillett, Emily. "Obama family purchases post-White House D.C. home for $8.1 million." CBS News. June 01, 2017. Accessed February 03, 2018. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/obama-family-purchases-post-white-house-d-c-home-for-8-1-million/.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: Can you supply the bills he sponsored to help the people of Illinois, or are they nonexistent?
Answer: He did pass at least one bill that is believed to have helped the people of Illinois. Senator Obama co-sponsored the TANF program (Temporary Assistance of Needy Families) that re-structured the Illinois welfare program. This bill supplied $100 million earned Income Tax Credit for working families and increased childcare subsidies for low-income families, as well as required companies to give advance notice before mass layoffs or plant closings. Some may argue the effectiveness of this bill, but it was definitely intended to help the people of Illinois, and many were thankful for such a bill.
© 2018 Angela Michelle Schultz