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Barack Obama: The First African American President

Nov 04, 2020 08:00AM ● By Kassidy Garland
barack obama

Twelve years ago today, Barack Obama defeated Senator John McCain, becoming the 44th President and the first African-American to hold the office of the presidency. The 47 year-old senator from Illinois had defied the odds, defeating his 72 year-old Republican challenger, and winning more than 53% of the popular vote and 365 electoral votes.

On August 4, 1961, Barack Obama Jr. was born in Honolulu, Hawaii to a White, Kansan, mother, Ann Dunham, and a Black, Kenyan father, Barack Obama Sr. When his parents separated, Obama Sr. moved back to Kenya, where in 1982, he passed away in a car accident. Dunham remarried and moved to Jakarta, Indonesia. Obama grew up alongside only one of his many half siblings.  

Obama studied at Occidental College in LA, before he transferred to Columbia University, where he studied political science and international relations. From there, he attended Harvard Law School, where he graduated Magna Cume Laude. After his graduation from school, Obama worked as a law professor at the University of Chicago before turning to a career in politics in 1996. 


That same year, Obama was elected to the Illinois State Senate, and he was reelected in 1998. In 2004, he made a huge name for himself after winning the U.S. Democratic Primary in Illinois and by being the Keynote speaker at the Democaratic National Convention, where he pleaded for “red” and “blue” to come together. Later that year, he was elected to the U.S. Senate by a large sum.

Obama officially announced his presidential candidacy on February 10, 2007 in Springfield, Illinois, and won the Democratic nomination in June 2008. Obama’s charisma, down-to-earth nature, and public speaking abilities quickly gained him support. Obama ran with the campaign promise of change, and  won the election. Some 1.8 million people attended his presidential inauguration and watched as he was sworn in using the very same bible that Abraham Lincoln used.

Not only did Obama break barriers as the first Black President, but he also made good on his promise of change. During his presidency, he signed The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, signed The Affordable Care Act, and joined the Iran Nuclear Deal. In his first term as president, Obama was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for his work. In addition to his work, he was sitting president during the operation that killed Osama Bin Laden, the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery Marches, the legalization of same sex marriage, and the Paris Accords.

He and his wife, Michelle, were not involved in any significant scandals in the White House. In fact, they made it clear that they were very much a part of the people. Appearing on television, engaging in social media, and prompting healthy food services and exercise in schools, the Obamas proved their kindness, patriotism and dedication to making a better, stronger, and healthier America for everyone. 

President Barack Obama was in office from January 20, 2009 to January 2017. Since his presidency, Obama has created the Obama foundation, and stayed relevant in the eyes of the American people,  continuing to create the change he promised all of those years ago.




White House

 Kassidy Garland has had a great appreciation for reading and writing since she was young. She graduated from West Chester University in 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in English & Women and Gender Studies. With a concentration in creative writing, Kassidy has 5 years of experience writing blogs, articles, and for social media. Based out of Philadelphia, Kassidy loves to write about a number of topics and looks forward to sharing her passion with those at FunTimes Magazine.