An Overachiever and a Protector: What will you be remembered for?
Well, where can we start? There is too much to tell about this hero, so we will pull out the best bits from the life he had before he became famous, and the run up to the biggest day of his life. Before he became known as the first African-American to become President of the United States, Barack Obama faced many problems including an absent father, racism while at school and a lack of self-assurance.
Obama was born in Hawaii in August of 1961 to a mother from America and a father from Kenya; his first life obstacle had been laid out for him before he had even opened his eyes, as he fell into an ethnic minority. His father, Barack Obama Senior, divorced his wife only two years after their son’s birth and returned to Kenya, leaving Barack Obama Junior without the father figure every little boy deserves. When Obama was four years old, his mother, Ann Dunham, remarried and moved to Indonesia where his half-sister Maya was born. However, after a few incidents, Ann began to worry for Obama’s safety and sent him to live with his maternal grandparents back in Hawaii.
At Punahou Academy in Honolulu, Hawaii, Obama was one of only three black students attending the school. There would inevitably have been prejudice and racist comments from other students, and occasionally Obama would find himself studying his reflection while wondering what was wrong with him. However, despite the insecurity, Obama excelled in his studies by becoming a wonder in basketball and graduating with honours in 1979. Following this portion of his education, Obama attended Occidental College in Los Angeles for two years before transferring to Columbia University in New York City. Just before his graduation in 1983, Obama’s father died from a traffic collision, but Obama did not let this news distract him. His graduation in 1983 saw him with a degree in political science, laying the foundation of his future career even though he did not know it yet. He began work in Chicago as a community organiser for low-income residents.
Building the Foundation.
It was around this time that Obama visited both of his father’s and paternal grandfather’s graves in Kenya. He later admitted to weeping between their plots of land and finding a sense of renewal from the experience. He therefore attended Harvard Law School when he returned, where he met and impressed constitutional law professor, Laurence Tribe. He joined Tribe’s team as a research assistant, beginning his law career with a solid kickstart – he even joined a Chicago law firm as a summer associate in 1989. Incidentally, it was here where he met his future wife, Michelle.
After his graduation from Harvard in 1991, Obama returned to Chicago to practice as a civil rights lawyer, also finding time to teach as a constitutional law lecturer. In 1995, he published an autobiography called Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.
Advocacy work led to Obama running for a seat in the Illinois State Senate as a Democrat, winning the election in 1996. In 2000, he went one step further and run for a United States House of Representatives seat; unfortunately, he was unsuccessful that time around, but he would not let this deter him and applied again later, to which he succeeded. After a few more important elections which got Obama climbing the ladder higher and higher, he eventually tried out for the biggest title in the United States – for President. His election was against john McCain won out 52.9% to 45.7%, and on January 20th, 2008, Barack Obama was sworn in as President of the United States, the first black man ever to hold this office. If that is not something to be proud of, we do not know what is.
His job would not be easy; he had inherited a global economic recession and two ongoing foreign wars as well as a few other heavy loads, but he knew what he expected of him when he run for the position and was prepared for it. During his inauguration speech, Obama announced: “Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: they will be met.”
During his time of Presidency (including the time after he was re-elected in 2012), Obama strengthened the U.S in many ways, but here are just a handful of his greatest accomplishments:
- He passed Health Care Reform – something that the previous five presidents had failed to do.
- He brought unemployment down from 10% to just 4.6% as of November 2016.
- He reduced veteran homelessness by 47%.
- In 2011, he ordered a raid to eliminate Osama bin Laden who organised the infamous attack of 9/11 in 2001.
It is clear to us that Barack Obama is strong, resilient and during his time in office he was truly invested in the well-being of his people as well as global relations. He has made history because his dedication to the job and the United States got him to a place that had previously been out of reach to every African-American before him, and he proved himself worthy countless times. We hope that our readers will let themselves be inspired by his ongoing story.
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