The Chicago Journal

Barack Obama: From Chicago to the White House as a Black Man

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Barack Hussein Obama remains the first and only African-American to become the president of the United States of America. He was the 44th president whose tenure ran through two terms from 2009 to 2017. He was born on August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii. His political journey started from being a community organizer before getting elected into the U.S. Senate in 2005 to represent Illinois. He was the third African-American to get elected into the senate since the end of Reconstruction in 1877. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 for his outstanding efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people.

Barack Obama won the United States presidential election in 2008 under the Democratic Party and spearheaded many reforms and laws during his two-te m tenure. He played influential roles in the Afghanistan War, Iraq War, Syrian Civil War, Strategic Arms Reduction Talks, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Paris Agreement, and USA PATRIOT Act. He’s an author with books like “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance,” “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream,” and “A Promised Land” to his credit. He also has two Grammy Awards, which he won in 2005 and 2007.

When he won the presidential election, many claimed that he was not born in the United States and was thus ineligible to be president according to the constitution. He proved his birthplace as Hawaii using his birth certificate. Barack Obama’s father was a goat herder from Kenya who won a scholarship to study in the United States and later became a senior economist in the Kenyan government. His mother, S. Ann Dunham, grew up in Kansas, Texas, and Washington D.C. before her family settled in Honolulu. She met Barack Sr. In 1960 at the University of Hawaii in a Russian Language class. They got married within a year and divorced in 1964, three years after Barack was born.

Barack Obama saw his father only one more time in 1974 when he visited briefly. His mother remarried an Indonesian international student and had a second child, Maya, and they all moved to Jakarta, Indonesia. Barack returned to Hawaii in 1971 and shuttled between living on his own and with his grandparents. He graduated from Columbia University in New York in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He worked as a writer and editor for a research, publishing, and consulting firm, Business International Corp., in Manhattan. In 1985, he took up a community organizer position in Chicago’s Far South Side. He returned to school in 1989 and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University law school. He got married to Michelle in 1992.

He played a significant role in helping Bill Clinton win Illinois during the elections by organizing the Project Vote, which registered African-Americans in tens of thousands. The same project helped the first African-American woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate, Carol Moseley Braun. His book, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance,” was also published around this time. He endorsed Hillary Clinton to succeed him as president, but she lost against Donald Trump in 2016.


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