Barack Obama: Early Life

Topics: Barack Obama, Harvard Law School, Ann Dunham Pages: 2 (634 words) Published: December 1, 2008
Barack Obama was born at the Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women & Children in Honolulu, Hawaii,[1][2] to Ann Dunham, a white American from Wichita, Kansas[3] of mainly English, Irish and smaller amounts of German descent.[4][5][6] Obama's father was Barack Obama, Sr., a Luo from Nyang’oma Kogelo, Nyanza Province, Kenya. His parents met in 1960 while attending the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, where his father was a foreign student.[7][8] The couple married on February 2, 1961;[9] they separated when Obama was two years old and divorced in 1964.[8] Obama's father returned to Kenya and saw his son only once more before dying in an automobile accident in 1982.[10]

After her divorce, Dunham married Indonesian student Lolo Soetoro who was attending college in Hawaii. When Suharto, a military leader in Soetoro's home country came to power in 1967, all students studying abroad were recalled and the family moved to Indonesia.[11] There Obama attended local schools, such as Asisi, in Jakarta until he was ten years old. He then returned to Honolulu to live with his maternal grandparents, Madelyn and Stanley Dunham, while attending Punahou School from the fifth grade in 1971 until his graduation from high school in 1979.[12] Obama's mother returned to Hawaii in 1972 for several years, and then in 1977 went back to Indonesia, where she worked as an anthropological field worker. She stayed there most of the rest of her life, returning to Hawaii in 1994. She died of ovarian cancer in 1995.[13]As an adult, Obama admitted that he used marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol when in high school, which he described as his greatest moral failure at the 2008 Civil Forum on the Presidency.[14][15]

Following high school, Obama moved to Los Angeles, where he studied at Occidental College for two years.[16] He then transferred to Columbia University in New York City, where he majored in political science with a specialization in international relations.[17] Obama graduated with a B.A....
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