Obama, Barack, Jr.
(born August 4, 1961, Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.) American politician who became the third African American, and the first African American male Democrat, to be elected to the U.S. Senate after the end of Reconstruction (1877). Obama's father, Barack Obama, Sr., was originally a goatherd in Kenya; he won a scholarship to study in the United States and eventually became a senior economist in the Kenyan government. Obama's mother, S. Ann Dunham, grew up in Kansas. Raised in Hawaii and Indonesia, Obama received a bachelor's degree from Columbia University (1983) and a law degree from Harvard University (1991), where he was the first African American to serve as president of the Harvard Law Review. After receiving his law degree, he moved to Chicago, where he had earlier been a community organizer. He became active in the Democratic Party and lectured on constitutional law at the University of Chicago. He also worked as an attorney on civil rights issues. In 1996 he was elected to the Illinois Senate. In 2004 he was elected to the U.S. Senate, defeating Republican Alan Keyes in the first U.S. Senate race in which the two leading candidates were African Americans. Obama's memoir, Dreams from My Father (1995), details his life.
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