Barack Obama was born on 4 August 1961 in Hawaii. His father was a black Kenyan and his mother a white America from Kansas. Barack Obama’s father used to herd goats in Kenya but gained a scholarship to study in Hawaii.
When Barack Obama was young his parents split up and his father returned to Kenya, whilst his mother remarried an Indonesian. The family moved to Jakarta, but it was not long before Barack Obama returned to Hawaii to live with his grandparents.
On 3 November 2008, just one day before the Presidential election, Barack Obama’s grandmother, Madelyn Dunham died following a fight against cancer. Barack Obama had often credited his grandmother with a crucial role in his life. In his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, he said of her: “She’s the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me.”
In 1983, Obama graduated from Columbia University in political science. After a few years as a community organiser, Obama studied law at Harvard and then practised as a civil rights lawyer. Whilst he was at Harvard, Barack Obama became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review.
Obama won a seat in the Illinois State Senate, where he served for eight years. In 2004, he became the third African American since Reconstruction to be elected to the U.S. Senate. He won as a Democrat and was sworn into office on 4 January 2005.
Barack Obama and his wife Michelle have two daughters, Malia and Sasha. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were among the front-running Democratic candidates to be President in 2008. Barack Obama’s campaign for the Presidency website has his speeches, news, blog, biography and video footage.
Pete Souza [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
In January 2008 Barack Obama was the victor in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses. CNN reported: “Among Democrats, Obama took 57 percent of the under-30 vote, according to CNN’s analysis of entrance polls. Speaking to supporters, Obama called the night a “defining moment in history.”
By mid-February 2008, the race for the Democratic nomination between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton was too close to call.
In June 2008, Barack Obama declared himself the Democratic nominee for US president, as, with the Democratic primaries having finished, he had enough delegates to be nominated. A few days later on 7 June 2008, Hillary Clinton suspended her campaign and told her supporters to unite behind Barack Obama.
On 4 November 2008, Barack Obama beat John McCain in the race to become the President of the United States. Upon his victory, President-elect Obama said: “It’s been a long time coming, but tonight … change has come to America.”
On 20 January 2009 Barack Obama was sworn in as America’s 44th president.
On 9 October 2009, it was announced that Barack Obama had won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.
On 6 November 2012, Barack Obama was re-elected President of the USA, defeating the Republican candidate Mitt Romney.