Barack Obama: 44th President
Official White House Photo
The Early Years
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 ended up becoming 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 the age 6 to age 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. During this time, he was taught that those who are blessed should serve others, which he strove for 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 communities that were devastated by the closing of local steel plants alongside a group of churches. He then went onto 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, where 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 quite 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 at the age of 52 of ovarian cancer. That same year he published his autobiography entitled “Dreams from my Father.”
His first political position began in 1997 where he became an Illinois state senator until 2005. He was very effective in this position. He cut taxes for working families as well as 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. He contributed to gettting Illinois’ first racial profiling law to pass that would require all homicide interrogations done by police to be videotaped.
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 his reading of his autobiography “Dreams from my Father.” He won 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.
Did you vote for Barack Obama?
Then in 2007, he officially announced that he was going to run for President. During his candidacy he appeared on “Saturday Night Live,” surprising many and gaining popularity. He ended up winning the Democratic ticket against Hillary Clinton, and would choose Senator Joe Biden as his running mate, officially making him the first African-American candidate in the United States history to lead a major party. The day before he was officially elected to become President of the United States, tragedy hit, and his Grandmother died at the age of 86 to cancer.
On January 20, 2009, he became the United States' first minority president. Later that year on October 9th, 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 win this honor; the others being Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Jimmy Carter. " Although some argued that he may have won this award prematurely, he continued in these efforts throughout his presidency. His 2008 Campaign pledge was to end the war in Iraq, which he was able to officially announce the withdrawal of the US troops, which would happen on December 31, 2011.
On March 23, 2010, he signed one of his most controversial bills into law and that was the Affordable Care Act that 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 it to be modified, others felt it should be thrown out altogether and start over.
One, surprising 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.
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. This was considered a victory for America. In honor of this, he attended a ceremony four days later to honor the victims on that day. He met with many of the families of the victims, as well as the first responders of that day, paying close attention to the “Pride of Midtown” firehouse that lost 15 men on that day, which was the most of all of the other firehouses that helped on that day.
One of the most controversial moves he did while President was endorsing same-sex marriage in 2012, which made him the first President to do so. He also stated that each state should be able to vote whether same-sex marriage should be legal. He continued his support of the LGBT community throughout his Presidency and on June 24, 2016, by designating 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, lived here without 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 he that would be used thus forth were, “Asian-American,” “Native America,” “Hispanic,” and “African-American.”
During the following election, he endorsed Hillary Clinton for President.
On January 20, 2017, after two terms, he leaves office, leaving President Donald Trump as Commander in Chief. Although Obama has been pretty quiet on his feelings regarding Trump’s administration, 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 -- 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."
According to CBS news, his family currently live in Washington D.C., where they will remain until their youngest daughter Sasha graduates from Sidwell Friends, the private high school that she attends.
President Obama and his Family
- His first name means, "One who is blessed" in Swahili.
- 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.
- Has won two Grammy's.
- 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.
- 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
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
List of United States Presidents
1. George Washington
16. Abraham Lincoln
31. Herbert Hoover
2. John Adams
17. Andrew Johnson
32. Franklin D. Roosevelt
3. Thomas Jefferson
18. Ulysses S. Grant
33. Harry S. Truman
4. James Madison
19. Rutherford B. Hayes
34. Dwight D. Eisenhower
5. James Monroe
20. James Garfield
35. John F. Kennedy
6. John Quincy Adams
21. Chester A. Arthur
36. Lyndon B. Johnson
7. Andrew Jackson
22. Grover Cleveland
37. Richard M. Nixon
8. Martin Van Buren
23. Benjamin Harrison
38. Gerald R. Ford
9. William Henry Harrison
24. Grover Cleveland
39. James Carter
10. John Tyler
25. William McKinley
40. Ronald Reagan
11. James K. Polk
26. Theodore Roosevelt
41. George H. W. Bush
12. Zachary Taylor
27. William Howard Taft
42. William J. Clinton
13. Millard Fillmore
28. Woodrow Wilson
43. George W. Bush
14. Franklin Pierce
29. Warren G. Harding
44. Barack Obama
15. James Buchanan
30. Calvin Coolidge
45. Donald Trump
- 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/.
© 2018 Angela Michelle Schultz