President Barack Hussein Obama II was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. His mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, was a white American from Wichita, Kansas. His father, Barack Obama Sr., who was black, was from Alego, Kenya.
Barack Obama, in full Barack Hussein Obama II, (born August 4, 1961, Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.), 44th president of the United States (2009–17) and the first African American to hold the office. Before winning the presidency, Obama represented Illinoisin the U.S. Senate (2005–08).
Obama attended Occidental College in suburban Los Angeles for two years and then transferred to Columbia University in New York City, where in 1983 he received a bachelor’s degree in political science.
After serving for a couple of years as a writer and editor for Business International Corp., a research, publishing, and consulting firm in Manhattan, he took a position in 1985 as a community organizer on Chicago’s largely impoverished Far South Side. He returned to school three years later and graduated magna cum laude in 1991 from Harvard University’s law school, where he was the first African American to serve as president of the Harvard Law Review. While a summer associate in 1989 at the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin, Obama had met Chicago native Michelle Robinson, a young lawyer at the firm. The two married in 1992.
After receiving his law degree, Obama moved to Chicago and became active in the Democratic Party. He organized Project Vote, a drive that registered tens of thousands of African Americans on voting rolls and that is credited with helping Democrat Bill Clinton win Illinois and capture the presidency in 1992. The effort also helped make Carol Moseley Braun, an Illinois state legislator, the first African American woman elected to the U.S. Senate. During this period, Obama wrote his first book and saw it published. The memoir, Dreams from My Father (1995), is the story of Obama’s search for his biracial identity by tracing the lives of his now-deceased father and his extended family in Kenya. Obama lectured on constitutional law at the University of Chicago and worked as an attorney on civil rights issues.
In 2004, Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat, representing Illinois, and he gained national attention by giving a rousing and well-received keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. In 2008 he ran for President, and despite having only four years of national political experience, he won. In January 2009, he was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, and the first African-American ever elected to that position. Obama was re-elected to a second term in November 2012.