Barack Hussein Obama, is rated as the only Black-American having a reasonable shot of making it to presidency. At the moment he is seen as the only challenger to Hilary Clinton in the race for the Democratic nomination.
He is a junior senator from Illinois and is the only African-American in the United States senate. He is also listed as the fifth Afro-American to reach the senate.
Early life and education
Obama was born on August 4th 1961, in Honolulu Hawaii, to a Kenyan father and white American mother. His father Barack Obama senior was a student at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu when he met Obama’s mother Ann Dunham, who was also attending the same University.
Obama’s parents separated when he was two years old and later divorced. His father went to do a PhD at Harvard University and later returned to Kenya where he worked as a civil servant. He died in a motor accident when his son was twenty one years old.
His mother got married to Loero Soetero an Indonesian student with whom they moved to Indonesia. Obama had his early education in Indonesia. Obama’s step-father and mother had a daughter called Maya. Obama later returned to Honolulu to live with his maternal grandparents where he attended Punahou School until 1979.
His mother died of ovarian cancer in 2005 shortly after he published his first book “Dreams from my father.”
After Punahou School, Obama went to Occidental College before transferring to Columbia University in New York. At Columbia he majored in Political Science and specialized in international relations.
He graduated in 1983 and worked with Business International Corporation before going to Chicago to work as a community organiser.
He joined Harvard law school in 1988 and was elected the first black president of the Harvard University Law Review in 1990. He completed his J.D degree in 1991 and returned to Chicago where he worked on the voter registration drive.
From 1993 up to his election as a senator in 2004, Obama worked as a lecturer of constitution Law at the University of Chicago Law School.
He also worked as an associate attorney with Miner, Barnhill and Galland from 1993 to 1996. During this time he represented community organizers.
Obama was elected in the Illinois State Senate in 1996 from the State’s 13th district, south of Chicago. In 2000 he made an unsuccessful run for the United States House of Representatives. He was re-elected into the Illinois State Senate in 1998 and 2002, officially resigning in 2004 after being elected as a senator.
In 2003 Obama begun his campaign for the United States Senate and was elected in 2004 with 52% on the Democratic Party ticket, defeating Allen Keys a republican. On 4th January 2005, he was sworn-in as a junior senator from Illinois.
Obama holds assignments on the senate committee for foreign relations, health education, labour, pensions and homeland security among others. He is also a member of the congressional black caucus.
In February 2007, Obama announced his Presidential bid in front of the Old capital building in Springfield Illinois. He symbolically likened his bid to that of Abraham Lincoln of 1858 who had also set out on his presidential bid from Illinois.
The announcement followed months of speculation on whether Obama would run for Presidency in 2008.
In the 2008 contest, Obama has been rated second to Hilary Clinton, wife of former American president Bill Clinton, and a senator from New York.
Many political analysts have stated that America is not yet ready for a black President.
Bearing a Moslem name is also seen as a disadvantage in the aftermath of terrorism which is associated with radical Islam in America.
Obama has also raised a lot of funds for his campaign. In the first half of 2007 his campaign raised US$58million, beating all other candidates and exceeding all other records for the first six months of any year before the elections.
In May 2007, Obama became the first candidate to be assigned secret service protection.
If elected he will be the first black president of the United States of America.
Obama is married to Mitchell Robinson Obama with two daughters Malia and Natasha.
He plays basketball, a game he played in his high school and university teams. He has also admitted that he has spent years struggling to quit smoking; a habit he has not succeeded to end.
Obama has written two books. In his first book, “Dreams from my father” Obama describes growing up in a middle class family of his white maternal grand parents with the lingering knowledge of his absent Luo father from Kenya.
He says knowledge of his absent father came through family stories and photos.
On his early child hood Obama writes “My father looked nothing like the people around me, he was as black as pitch - my mother white as milk-barely.” As a young man he struggled with social perceptions and at one time Obama used marijuana something he admits in his own book.
His second book was published in 2006 “The audacity of Hope” Obama says that he never had a religious upbringing. He says that his Muslim Kenyan father found religion of no particular importance to his life.
As a religious community organizer, Obama came to appreciate the role of African-American religious values as a basis of social struggles.
Obama has been widely recognised and honoured. In 2005, he was listed among the first ten people who could change the world in the British magazine New Statesman. In 2005 and 2007 he was named by Time magazine as one of the world’s most influential people.
During his first three years in the US Senate, Obama received honorary doctorates of Law from six Universities in the United States of America.