Defying all hidden notions, the phoenix―Barack Obama, has risen as the first African-American to hold the office of President in a country that cannot deny its earlier tryst with slavery and racism. The walk from Junior Senator of the US to the office of President has changed American history. Graduating from the Columbia University, Obama went on to make a mark as a community organizer and civil rights attorney in the city of Chicago. He taught Law at the Chicago University and bid for a seat in the House of Representatives only in the year 2000. He was elected to the Senate in 2004, after serving three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004.
A Chip Off the Old Block
Barack Obama was born to Ann Durham and Barack Obama Sr. While his mother was a white American of English-Irish decent, his father hailed from Kenya. His parents separated when he was two years old. His mother went on to marry Lolo Soetoro, a student from Indonesia. However, the marriage witnessed a major paradigm shift when Soeroto was recalled to his homeland in 1967. Obama attended local public schools till the age of 10. He then returned to Honolulu, to his maternal grandparents, and lived there until his graduation in 1979. His mother returned to Hawaii in 1972 and died of ovarian cancer in 1995.
Obama studied at:
- Occidental College, New York city, for two years.
- Columbia University, New York, where he majored in Political Science.
- Harvard Law School, Harvard University, from where he graduated with a 'Juris Doctor Magna cum laude'.
- Business International Corporation, for two years.
- New York Public Interest Research Group.
- Developing Communities Project (DCP), in the capacity of a Director, for three years.
- Gamaliel Foundation, in the capacity of a consultant and instructor.
- Harvard Law School, in the capacity of editor - Harvard Law Review.
- Sidley & Austin and Hopkins & Sutter, both law firms.
- Woods Fund, Joyce Foundation and Chicago Annenberg Challenge, as a member of the Board of Directors.
Barack Obama contributed in a major way to the control on conventional weapons as a member of the Democratic minority. He worked hard to promote public accountability towards the application of federal funds. Official trips to Europe and Africa to deal with the Middle East issues helped create a legislation regarding climate change and misuse of nuclear weapons, as well as to improve the attitude towards the presence of U.S. military personnel battling combat assignments.
The Historical Odyssey
Barack Obama returned to Chicago from New York in 1991. His election as President of the Harvard Law Review made him the first black to hold the post, and led to a publishing contract for a book on race relations. The manuscript 'Dreams From My Father' was finally published in 1995. In 1992, he directed Illinois's voter registration drive, and achieved the goal of registering 150,000 of the researched 400,000 unregistered African-Americans. As State Senator from Illinois, he rallied bipartisan support for legislation that addressed the need for reform in laws on public health, and sponsored tax credits increase for the low-income category, affecting the U.S. economy.
He also negotiated welfare reforms and aided the demand for increased childcare subsidies. As Chairman of the Illinois Senate's Health and Human Services Committee, Barack Obama sponsored bipartisan support of racial profiling and death penalty reforms. During the primary process and the general elections, the Obama campaign became the first to turn down public financing, a system that was in order since 1976.
Barack Obama took over the White House residency from George W. Bush on November 10, 2008, defeating John McCain with 365 electoral votes to McCain's 173 in the presidential elections. He is a revolution and an institution. He is not only the first African-American President of the United States, but also stands for the soul of 'I have a dream... ' that Marin Luther extolled.
Finally, change has come to America!
Finally, change has come to America!