U.S. Presidents / Barack Obama

Portrait of Barack Obama

b. 1961

Barack Obama

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. Campaign Speech


Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States—becoming the first African American to serve in that office—on January 20, 2009.

The son of a white American mother and a black Kenyan father, Obama grew up in Hawaii. Leaving the state to attend college, he earned degrees from Columbia University and Harvard Law School. Obama worked as a community organizer in Chicago, where he met and married Michelle LaVaughn Robinson in 1992. Their two daughters, Malia Ann and Natasha (Sasha), were born in 1998 and 2001, respectively. Obama was elected to the Illinois state senate in 1996 and served there for eight years. In 2004, he was elected by a record majority to the US Senate from Illinois and, in February 2007, announced his candidacy for president. After winning a closely fought contest against New York Senator and former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination, Obama handily defeated Senator John McCain of Arizona, the Republican nominee for president, in the general election.

Fast Facts

Barack Hussein Obama
Honolulu, Hawaii
Columbia University (B.A., 1983), Harvard (J.D., 1991)
Community Organizer, Public Official
October 3, 1992 to Michelle Robinson
Malia Ann (1998); Natasha, known as Sasha (2001)
Michael Nelson

Chicago Style

Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. “Barack Obama.” Accessed July 16, 2024. https://prod.millercenter.org/president/obama.

Professor of Political Science

Michael Nelson

Professor Nelson is the Fulmer Professor of Political Science at Rhodes College, a senior fellow of the Miller Center, and the senior contributing editor and book editor of the Cook Political Report. He is the author of multiple books on American politics and government.