|Official Presidential Photograph|
Obama spent several years working in New York, and relocated to Chicago in 1985. There, he began working with the Developing Communities Project, a church-based organization, as a community organizer, committed to destitute areas affected by high unemployment and crime. His achievements were significant, but as a result of the experience, he came to understand that effecting real change would require action at the level of the political and legal systems. Obama visited Kenya in 1988, where he met many of his deceased father’s relatives for the first time. He was accepted at Harvard Law School that year, graduating in 1991 after serving as the first black president of the prestigious Harvard Law Review. This resulted in a contract for him to write a book about race relations, which became the memoir "Dreams from My Father."
Returning to Chicago shortly thereafter, Obama began teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago, while practicing as a civil and neighborhood rights attorney and serving on numerous social action boards of directors. In 1992, he married Michelle Robinson, whom he’d met in 1989 as a summer associate at the Chicago law firm where she worked. Living in Chicago's Hyde park neighborhood, they had two daughters, Malia born in 1999 and Natasha (nicknamed Sasha) born in 2001.
Obama had run unsuccessfully in the Illinois Democratic primary for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000. Nevertheless, in 2003, he began campaigning for a seat in the U.S. Senate. At the 2004 Democratic National Convention, he was exposed to a national audience for the first time when he delivered the keynote address. The response was immediate, with political insiders citing his presidential potential, and ordinary Americans resonating with his message of unity and promise as expressed by the speech’s title, “The Audacity of Hope.” Propelled by this electrifying debut, he won the primary and general election for the Senate in 2004 by the largest margin in Illinois history, and became only the third African American so honored since Reconstruction.
Acknowledged by his Senate peers as an exceptionally promising freshman, Obama continued to work with leaders from both parties in a spirit of bipartisan cooperation to create important legislation. He served on the Foreign Relations, Environment and Public Works, and Veterans’ Affairs Committees, and worked on arms proliferation, climate change, and ethics reform among other notable achievements. In 2006, he published a second book titled "The Audacity of Hope," which climbed to the top of the best-seller lists.
|A sign of respect for the Jewish venue President Obama was speaking at.|
Over the course of the campaign, Obama steadily established and widened a leading margin in polls, which accelerated with the deterioration of the U.S. economy in the fall of 2008. Toward the end of the contest, he campaigned actively in Republican strongholds, seeking a broad mandate from the electorate to enact his theme of “The change we need.”
On November 4, 2008, history was made. Obama became the 44th President-Elect of the United States with a landslide victory, the first Black elected to the highest office in America. One hundred and forty-six years after the Emancipation Proclamation, African Americans’ march toward freedom, civil rights, equity, and full participation culminated in the leadership of this nation. A dream too long deferred had been realized. A new chapter in American history had begun.
In October 2009, Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." Obama responded to the honor with surprise and humility, saying that the award was a "call to action" to engage other nations around the world to promote peace.
The second term of Barack Obama as President and Joe Biden as Vice President took place on Sunday, January 20, 2013 in the Blue Room of the White House.
Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.