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Timothy N. Thurber

lawyer and U.S. senator, was born Edward William Brooke III in Washington, D.C., to Edward Brooke Jr., an attorney for the Veterans Administration, and Helen Seldon. Growing up in an integrated middle-class neighborhood, Brooke readily absorbed his mother's instruction to respect others and treat all people equally. The Brookes lived relatively free from much of the racism endured by other African Americans. “We never felt hated,” his mother recalled (Cutler, 14). Brooke attended Dunbar High School, an elite public school with many middle- and upper-class African American students and then went on to Howard University, where he became president of the school's chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and earned his bachelor's degree in 1941 Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor later that year Brooke was drafted into an all black combat unit in the army He served in many roles including as a defender of those ...

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Randall Kennedy

lawyer, writer, U.S. Senator, and President of the United States, was born Barack Hussein Obama Jr. in Honolulu, Hawaii, the only child of Barack Obama, a government official in Kenya, and Stanley Anne Dunham, an educator. His mother was a white American originally from Kansas, and his father was a black Kenyan. The couple met while studying at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and separated when their son was two years old. Obama Sr. left Hawaii to study at Harvard University and later returned to Africa to work as an economic planner for the Kenyan government. After the couple divorced, Anne Dunham married Lolo Soertoro, an Indonesian businessman, with whom she had a daughter, Maya.

Hawaii was the primary site of Barack s childhood and adolescence although from the age of six to ten he lived in Jakarta Indonesia in the ...

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Steven J. Niven

author, U.S. senator, and first African American president. Born Barack Hussein Obama in Honolulu, Hawaii, he was the only son of Barack Obama Sr., a native of Kenya, and Ann Dunham, a white Kansan, who met and married while they were both students at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Obama Sr. grew up herding goats with his father, who was a domestic servant for British colonial officials in the small Kenyan village of Nyangoma-Kogelo. Obama Sr. arrived in Hawaii in 1959 as part of a program initiated by the Kenyan nationalist politician Tom Mboya to educate promising young African students in the United States. Mboya's program aimed to prepare an African-born elite for government service after the end of British colonial rule, and he secured scholarship funds from a number of African Americans active in the civil rights movement, including Jackie Robinson, Harry Belafonte, and Sidney Poitier ...