Barack Obama: Quick Facts
Birth Name: Barack Hussein Obama II
Date of Birth: 4 August 1961 (57 Years of Age)
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii
Spouse(s): Michelle LaVaughn Robinson (Married in 1992)
Children: Malia Ann Obama; Natasha (Sasha) Obama
Parents: Barack Obama Sr. (Father); Ann Dunham (Mother)
Education: Occidental College; Columbia University (Bachelor of Arts); Harvard Law School (JD)
Political Affiliation: Democratic Party
Religious Affiliation: Protestant Christian
Occupation(s): Lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School; Community Organizer; Attorney; Former Illinois Senator; Former President of the United States (44th President)
Awards/Honors: Nobel Peace Prize (2009); Profile in Courage Award (2017)
Pets: Two Dogs (Bo and Sunny)
Fact #1: Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in August of 1961. Currently, he is the only American President to be born outside of the 48 contiguous states.
Fact #2: In Swahili, “Barack” means “one who is blessed.” Obama was named after his father, who was originally from Kenya. However, his parents divorced when Barack was only two years old. In the years that followed, Obama only saw his father one more time in 1971.
Fact #3: Barack Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, remarried in the late 1960s to a man named Lolo Soetoro. The couple (along with young Barack) moved to Indonesia shortly after. Here, Obama recalled having to eat snakes and grasshoppers. He also had a pet ape known as “Tata.” Young Barack returned to Hawaii, however, in 1971 to live with his maternal grandparents.
Fact #4: Barack Obama graduated high school with honors, and later attended Occidental College in Los Angeles (1979). Two years later, Obama transferred to Columbia University in New York, where he majored in Political Science and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree (1983). Five years later, he enrolled in Harvard Law School; graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1991.
Fact #5: After college, Obama worked for a corporate market research company, and later became a community organizer for Chicago’s “Developing Communities Project.” He also taught law classes at the University of Chicago’s Law School, while also working at a Chicago-based law firm.
Fact #6: Obama met his future wife, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, when he was only 27 years old. Michelle was also a Harvard Law graduate who worked at the same corporate law firm as Obama. Michelle was assigned by the firm to serve as Obama’s mentor. The pair married on 3 October 1992. They later had two daughters, Malia Ann and Natasha.
Fact #7: In 1996, Obama was elected to the Illinois State Senate; he later ran for U.S. Senate in 2004, carrying seventy percent of the vote against Alan Keyes. That same year, Obama was invited to give the Keynote Address for the Democratic National Convention; catapulting the young Senator into the national spotlight for the first time.
Fact #8: Three years after his successful run for U.S. Senate, Obama announced his intention to run for President of the United States; choosing Joseph Biden as his running mate. After securing his party’s endorsement, Obama became the first African American in U.S. history to serve as a leading candidate for President.
Fact #9: On 20 January 2009, Obama was officially sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. Nearly two million people attended his inauguration, making it the largest viewing in American history. During his time in office, Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (2009), and signed into law the “Affordable Care Act.” In addition, Obama became the first U.S. President to speak to British Parliament, endorse same-sex marriage, and re-establish a connection with Cuba after nearly 88 years. After serving two terms as President, Obama left office on 20 January 2017.
Fun Fact #1: Obama is left-handed.
Fun Fact #2: Obama remains one of the tallest U.S. Presidents in history; measuring in at nearly 6’1” tall.
Fun Fact #3: Barack Obama despises ice cream. He claims that he has not liked ice cream ever since he worked at Baskin Robbins as a teenager. He also does not like coffee or alcohol.
Fun Fact #4: Obama’s favorite drink is Black Forest Berry tea.
Fun Fact #5: Some of Obama’s favorite hobbies include reading, writing, playing Scrabble and poker, and collecting comics (his favorite being Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian).
“We are reminded that, in the fleeting time we have on this Earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame; but rather how well we have loved and what small part we have played in making the lives of other people better.”— Barack Obama
Quotes by Obama
Quote #1: “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
Quote #2: We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks ‘what’s in it for me,’ a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.”
Quote #3: “If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.”
Quote #4: “We need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion. This isn’t a matter of political correctness. It’s a matter of understanding what makes us strong. The world respects us not just for our arsenal; it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith.”
Quote #5: “I see Americans of every party, every background, every faith who believe that we are stronger together: black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American; young, old; gay, straight; men, women, folks with disabilities, all pledging allegiance under the same proud flag to this big, bold country that we love. That’s what I see. That’s the America I know!”
Quote #6: “The future rewards those who press on. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I’m going to press on.”
Quote #7: “Let us remember we are all part of one American family. We are united in common values, and that includes our belief in equality under the law, basic respect for public order, and the right of peaceful protest.”
Quote #8: “You can’t let your failures define you. You have to let your failures teach you.”
Quote #9: “Keep exploring. Keep dreaming. Keep asking why. Don’t settle for what you already know. Never stop believing in the power of your ideas, your imagination, your hard work to change the world.”
Quote #10: “We are reminded that, in the fleeting time we have on this Earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame; but rather how well we have loved and what small part we have played in making the lives of other people better.”
Were you surprised by any of these facts about Obama?
Works by Obama:
Obama, Barack. Dreams From My Father. (Published in 1995)
Obama, Barack. The Audacity of Hope. (Published in 2006).
Obama, Barack. Of Thee I Sing. (Published in 2010).
Obama, Barack. The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream. Random House Audio.
Barack Obama continues to play a key role in American culture and politics, to the current day. As a relatively young man, Obama will continue to play an important role in American culture for the foreseeable future. As Obama’s children enter adulthood, it will be interesting to see how the Obama family continues to impact American politics in the coming years and decades that lie ahead.
© 2018 Larry Slawson