BIO-SKETCH: Barack Obama
by Vincent Adams

He seems pretty normal.
He loves to play hoops to unwind. He loves the Chicago White Sox and, in fact, he wore his favorite Sox cap the day after he won election to the country's highest office.

But he is not your everyday hoops-playing, Sox fan.

Starting Jan. 20, 2009, Barack Obama will become nation's 44th President, and in process he has inspired millions of people.

Growing Up

Obama's road to the White House was not easy. His father Barack Obama Sr. was a Kenyan immigrant and his mother Ann Dunham grew up in Wichita, Kansas. They divorced when Obama was 2 years old and his mother raised him as a single parent.

Obama wrote in his memoir, The Audacity of Hope, about the difficulties he had facing stereotypes of being a Black man and being half white. But Obama often credits his grandmother Madelyn Duhnam for "being the backbone" of the family and helping him learn about himself and his unique heritage, and she also helped him do well in school and beyond.

Sadly, Obama's grandmother died a week before he won the presidency, marking another personal tragedy for him -- his mother died of cancer in 1995.

Road to the Presidency

It seems Obama's past made him ambitious. Inhereting a strong sense to give back, Obama worked as a community organizer from 1985-1998 on the South Side of Chicago. He worked to help improve the lives of many poor people whose lives are plagued by crime and violence.

In 1996 Obama became an Illionios State Senatar, but that was only the beginning. In 2004 he ran for and became a U.S. Senator for Illionios, and in 2006 he began his run for president. Obama ran a tough campaign against Hillary Clinton before he won and became the first Black major party nominee for president.

Then on Nov. 4, 2008 Obama won the presidency by defeating John McCain, causing many people to celebrate his historic run. Obama became the first Black man to win the office, but he was also the first non-White man to win.

This inspired millions of people who before never thought they could be president. Many of these people believe that someday, if they work hard and overcome like Obama, they could be president.

Important Dates
  • 1961 Born Barack Hussein Obama in Honolulu, Hawaii
  • 1985 Moved to Chicago
  • 1985-1988 Community Organizer in South Side
  • 1988 Started Harvard Law School, met Michelle
  • 1990 First Black Editor of Harvard Law Review
  • 1992 Married Michelle LaVaughn Robinson
  • 1996 Elected Illinois State Senator
  • 1998 First Daughter Malia born
  • 2001 Second Daughter Sasha born
  • 2004 Elected U.S. Senator from Illinois
  • 2008 Elected President of the United States
Source: Barack Obama. Biography.Com. Dec 10, 2008.