“In the end, that’s what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope?” — Barack Obama
Barack H. Obama was born on this day in 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. He is 52 years old today.
He is the only son of Barack Obama, Sr. and Ann Dunham. His mother, who grew up in Kansas, was attending the University of Hawaii when she met Obama, Sr, an exchange student from Kenya. When the baby was still an infant, Obama, Sr. moved to Harvard to pursue his Ph.D.. The couple divorced in 1964 and Obama, Sr. moved back to Kenya. Dunham then married Lolo Soetoro, a student from Indonesia.
A year later, the family moved to Jakarta, Indonesia, where Barack’s half-sister, Maya Soetoro Ng, was born. Several incidents in Indonesia left Dunham afraid for her son’s safety and education so, at the age of 10, Barack was sent back to Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents. His mother and sister later joined them. [Biography.com]
Obama grew very close to his maternal grandparents.
He was raised with help from his grandfather, who served in Patton’s army, and his grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle management at a bank. [Whitehouse.gov]
He attended the prestigious Punahou Academy, graduating in 1979 with academic honors. He went on to study at Occidental College in Los Angeles before transferring to Columbia University in New York. He graduate in 1983 with a degree in political science.
After working in the business sector for two years, Obama moved to Chicago in 1985. There, he worked on the South Side as a community organizer for low-income residents in the Roseland and the Altgeld Gardens communities. [Biography.com]
He entered Harvard Law School in 1988 eventually becoming the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. He also met his former wife Michelle Robinson while his was at Harvard. He graduated magna cum laude, in 1991 and went back to Chicago to “help lead a voter registration drive, teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago, and remain active in his community.” [Whitehouse.gov]
His work in the community lead him to public office. He was an Illinois State Senator from 1997-2004 and was an US Senator for that state from 2005-2008.
He was elected President of the United States on November 4, 2009, having won 365 electoral votes and 52% of the popular vote. He was reelected on November 6, 2012, with 332 365 electoral votes and 51% of the popular vote.