Photo Essay - Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States

Barack Obama, 1961

The first African American president of the United States, Barack Obama, was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on 4 August 1961.

Photograph of Barack Hussein Obama Sr. Courtesy of AP Images.

Obama's father, Barack Hussein Obama Sr. (pictured here in the center photograph), was not a regular presence in his life. Barack Sr., a member of the Luo tribe, was born in Nyang'oma Kogelo, Kenya. In 1959 he entered the University of Hawaii. In a Russian class he met Ann Dunham, whom he married in 1960. The couple's only son, Barack Jr., was born the following year. This photograph of the wall in the home of Barack Obama's paternal grandmother, Sarah Hussein Obama, in the village of Kogelo, was taken on 5 February 2008.

Ann, Stanley, and Madelyn Dunham

Obama was raised by his mother Stanley Ann Dunham (known as Ann) and his grandparents Stanley and Madelyn Dunham. The elder Dunhams, originally from Kansas, lived in Texas and Seattle before moving to Hawaii in 1960 where Ann Dunham began attending the University of Hawaii and met Obama's father

Barack Obama in Hawaii, 1960s Courtesy of AP Images.

By the time Obama was two his father had left the family to attend Harvard. Obama remained in Hawaii where he was raised by his mother and grandparents.

Obama with mother, sister, and step-father, Indonesia, 1971 Courtesy of AP Images.

When Obama was six, his mother Ann married another University of Hawaii student, an Indonesian man by the name of Lolo Soetoro. At around the same time Suharto came to power in Indonesia and Indonesian students studying abroad were called home. Barack Obama lived in Jakarta for the next four years. Obama's half-sister Maya Soetoro was born in Jakarta in 1970 shortly before this picture was taken. It was during this period that Obama's mother woke him at 4 am each morning so that he could study English before school. In 1971, when Obama was ten, he left Indonesia and returned to Hawaii where he lived with his grandparents. The following year his mother separated from Soetoro and she and Maya also returned to Hawaii.

Barack Obama with grandparents, 1979 Courtesy of AP Images.

In 1975, Ann Dunham-Soetoro returned to Indonesia to continue her work on her PhD. Obama decided to stay in Hawaii and complete high school there. Reluctantly Dunham-Soetoro agreed. During the next four years he spent summer holidays and Christmases with his mother and the school year with his grandparents Madelyn and Stanley. Obama called his grandmother "Toot," short for the Hawaiian "tutu," meaning grandparent. Obama has repeatedly credited his grandmother as one of his greatest influences in life. Though she died days before his election to the presidency and could not share in his victory, she was able to cast a vote for her grandson before passing. This photo was taken at his high school graduation in 1979.

Barack Obama with grandparents, 1982 Courtesy of AP Images.

After graduating from high school, Obama attended Occidental College in California for two years and then transferred to Columbia University in New York City. There he studied political science with a focus on international relations. In this photo, Obama poses with his grandparents during a visit to New York in 1982.

Obama with his step-grandmother, 1988

In 1986 one of Obama's Kenyan relatives, his half sister Auma, came to the United States for an extended stay. She met with Obama and told him about his father's life (Barack Sr. died in a car accident in 1982) as well as the Kenyan side of his family. On his father's side of the family, Barack Obama has a complex family tree. Obama Sr. married three times and had children by four women. With his first wife Kezia, Obama Sr. had a son and a daughter, Roy and Auma, before Barack was born. Two sons, Bernard and Abo, were born after Barack Jr. Barack Sr. was also married to an American woman named Ruth Nidesand, with whom he had two sons, Mark and David. Obama's youngest half-brother, George, is the son of Barack Sr. and a woman named Jael. In 1988, Obama traveled to Kenya to meet with his African relatives. In this photograph, Obama is shown with his step-grandmother, Sarah Obama, whom he calls Granny Sarah.

Barack Obama holding Harvard Law Review 1990s Courtesy of AP Images.

In 1989 Barack Obama entered Harvard Law School. The following year he was elected president of the Harvard Law Review, the first African American to attain this prestigious position.

Michelle and Barack Obama, 1992 Courtesy of AP Images.

On 18 October 1992 Barack Obama married Michelle Robinson, also a lawyer and a graduate of Harvard Law. The two had met in Chicago when Obama was a summer intern at a local law firm and Michelle Robinson was assigned to show him around. They dated while Obama attended law school and married shortly after he received his JD. They are pictured here on their wedding day. The same year as his marriage, Obama directed Illinois' Project Vote, a voter registration drive. With a staff of ten and seven hundred volunteers, Project Vote registered close to 150,000 unregistered African American voters. Because of this achievement, in 1993 Chicago Business named Obama one of its "40 under Forty."

Obama speaking at the D.N.C., 2004 Courtesy of AP Images.

In 1997 Obama ran for and won a seat in the Illinois State Senate representing the 13th district. After several years in the Illinois State Senate, Obama decided to run for the U.S. Senate. On 2 November 2004 he defeated the Republican candidate Alan Keyes and became the fifth African American elected to the Senate. That year Obama was chosen to deliver the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. On 27 July 2004 he delivered a seventeen-minute speech that most people credit for bringing Obama to national attention, turning him into a viable candidate for future higher office

Barack Obama, 2007 Courtesy of AP Images.

On 10 February 2007 in Springfield, Illinois, Barack Obama announced his candidacy for President of the United States. Slightly less than a year later, on 3 January 2008, he won the Iowa Caucus. Obama's win in Iowa proved he could carry a majority white, rural state. His loss in New Hampshire just a few days later proved it would be a long and difficult road to the Democratic nomination. In this photograph, taken on 16 October 2007, Obama announces his "Real Leadership for Rural America" agenda at a farm near Fairfax, Iowa.

Invesco Field, Denver, Colorado, 28 August 2008 Courtesy of AP Images.

By the end of the primary campaign, Obama had raised more money from more people than any other presidential candidate in history. His campaign appearances gathered crowds in the tens of thousands. On 28 August 2008 Barack Obama accepted the nomination of the Democratic Party. The event was held at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado, with over 70,000 people in attendance.

Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois, 4 November 2008 Courtesy of AP Images.

On the night of 4 November 2008 hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Chicago's Grant Park to await the presidential election results. Members of the crowd, including LaZane Tyler, right, react after a broadcast predicts Obama's win.

Official Portrait of Barack Obama, 2009

Thus Barack Hussein Obama Jr. was elected the 44th President of the United States, the first African American president in U.S. history.