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His stirring speech, in which he urged a united, not a divided, American union, prompted political commentators to predict he might become the first African American elected to the White House. He was born in 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii, where his parents had met at the University of Hawaii's Manoa campus.

His father, Barack Sr., was from Kenya and entered the University of Hawaii as its first-ever student from an African country.

The Durhams were accepting of Barack Sr., but his family in Kenya had a harder time with the idea of his marryinga white American woman. The two Baracks met again only once, when Obama was ten, though they did write occasionally. eventually returned to Kenya and died in a car accident there in the early 1980s.

When Obama was two years old they divorced, and his father left Hawaii to enter Harvard University to earn a Ph. Obama's mother remarried a man from Indonesia who worked in the oil industry, and when Obama was six they moved there.

Obama's time at the Law Review had netted him an offer to write a book. Barack Obama won his bid for the Senate by a large margin, taking 70 percent of the Illinois vote, thus becoming one of the youngest members of the U. Senate when he was sworn into office in January 2005.

The result was Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, published by Times Books in 1995. Nearly a hundred years passed before another African American was elected to the Senate, and this came by statewide vote. In 1992 another Illinois Democrat, Carol Moseley Braun (1947–), became the first African American woman to serve in the U. 1960s radical who had founded the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, a revolutionary black nationalist party of the era. Some of Obama's supporters thought he was aiming too high, but this time he beat out six other Democratic challengers in the primary with 53 percent of the vote.

Obama won that 1996 election and went on to an impressive career in the Senate chambers in Springfield, the state capital. He was only the third elected since the end of the Reconstruction, the period immediately following the end of the American Civil War (1861–65; a war between the Union [the North], who were opposed to slavery, and the Confederacy [the South], who were in favor of slavery). Senate were not directly elected by voters in most states, however. He won election to local office as a Republican, and in 1875 lawmakers sent him to the U. But Jack Ryan was, like one of Obama's earlier primary opponents, derailed by allegations about his personal life.

The group was active on the city's South Side, one of America's most impoverished urban communities.

Obama also considered Chicago a place from which he could launch a political career, and he became active in a number of projects in addition to his legal cases at work and another job he held teaching classes at the University of Chicago Law School.

He worked on a local voter-registration drive, for example, that registered thousands of black voters in Chicago; the effort was said to have helped Bill Clinton (1946–) win the state in his successful bid for the White House in 1992.

And often, this results in self-destructive behavior." Obama graduated from Punahou and went on to Occidental College in Los Angeles, where he decided to get serious about his studies.

Midway through, he transferred to the prestigious Columbia University in New York City.

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