Barack Obama

Active - 2006 - Present  |   Born - Aug 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii, United States  |   Genres - Culture & Society [nf], History [nf]

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A veritable household name during the 2008 presidential election (in which he won the Democratic nomination, roundly defeating Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York), Barack Obama campaigned for the United States Presidency while serving as a Democratic senator in Illinois. The product of a unique and complex ethno-cultural heritage -- he began life in Honolulu as the son of a white Kansan mother and a Kenyan father -- Obama spent various periods of his childhood in Indonesia and Hawaii. As a young man, he attended Columbia University as a political science major, then held a job as a Manhattan financial counselor before growing listless, moving to Chicago, and taking on a job as a community organizer -- a post that witnessed him working strenuously with churches to aid the impoverished in local housing projects. Obama later attended Harvard Law School, where he excelled, and became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. A successful bid for the Senate followed, culminating with a November 2004 victory. As a presidential candidate, Obama exuded a populist appeal that won him legions of supporters and enabled him to cinch the nomination. Obama beat Arizona senator John McCain in 2008 to become the 44th President of the United States. He was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. Obama defeated former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in 2012 to secure a second term as president.

Cinematically, Obama limited his exposure to participation in documentaries, including the biographical profiles Senator Obama Goes to Africa (2007) and Biography: Barack Obama (2007), and the Darfur genocide-themed muckraking documentary The Devil Came on Horseback (2007). He was the subject of the election year documentary 2016: Obama's America.

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Factsheet

  • Parents met while both attended the University of Hawaii. His father was the first African student to attend the university.
  • Parents separated when he was 2, as his father moved to Boston to attend graduate school at Harvard; they divorced in 1964. He would see his father only once more in his life, in 1971.
  • Mother remarried in 1967, to an Indonesian student studying at the University of Hawaii; the family moved to Jakarta, Indonesia, later that year.
  • In 1971, his mother sent him back to Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents amid concerns for the quality of her son's education.
  • After graduating from Columbia, he worked in New York before moving to Chicago to become the director of the Developing Communities Project; helped establish numerous programs to benefit the South Side's underprivileged families.
  • In 1988, he left Chicago and entered Harvard Law School, where he became the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. He graduated magna cum laude in 1991.
  • Met his future wife, Michelle, when he worked at a Chicago law firm in June of 1989 and she was his mentor.
  • Served as a law-school professor at the University of Chicago from 1992 until 2004, when he was elected to the U.S. Senate.
  • Elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996.
  • Gained national prominence in 2004 thanks to his stirring performance as the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention.
  • Announced his presidential candidacy on February 10, 2007. Became the clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination after Hillary Rodham Clinton suspended her campaign in June 2008.
  • Became the first black U.S. president following his victory in the 2008 election, in which he defeated John McCain by a 365-to-173 electoral-vote margin.
  • In 2009, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to promote international diplomacy. He became only the third sitting president to win the award, along with Theodore Roosevelt (1906) and Woodrow Wilson (1919).
  • Defeated Mitt Romney in 2012 to secure a second term as president.