Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by juan. juan Wonders, “who is obama” Thanks for WONDERing with us, juan!

The person at the center of today’s Wonder of the Day is an author and a lawyer. He’s also a politician, a husband, and a father. And, of course, he was the first Black person to become president of the United States. Who are we talking about? Barack Obama, of course!

Barack Obama was born on August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was named after his father, Barack Obama Sr., who moved to the U.S. from Kenya for college. He later became an economist. Obama’s mother was Ann Dunham, an anthropologist.

Obama’s parents divorced when he was two years old. Later, his mother remarried and the family moved to Indonesia. In 1971, though, young Obama came back to Hawaii. He would spend the rest of his childhood there. He sometimes lived with his mother and at other times with his grandparents. 

After high school, Obama entered Occidental University in Los Angeles. Two years later, he transferred to Columbia University. In 1983, he graduated with a degree in political science. Obama then went to work as a community organizer in the south side of Chicago

In 1988, Obama returned to school at Harvard University. He graduated with a law degree in 1991. The next year, he married Michelle Robinson. The pair would go on to have two daughters, Malia and Natasha (Sasha) Obama.

The Obamas moved back to Chicago. There, Obama began his career in politics. He organized Project Vote, which helped thousands of Black Americans vote in the early 1990s. In 1995, he also wrote his first book, “Dreams from My Father.” It was a memoir that told of Obama’s experience growing up as a biracial boy in America. 

In 1996, Obama was elected to the Illinois State Senate. Just eight years later, he became a Senator in the U.S. Congress. In 2006, he published his second book, “The Audacity of Hope.” It instantly became a bestseller. 

In January 2007, Obama announced he would seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for U.S. president. After a long string of primary elections, he became the first Black candidate nominated for president by a major political party. He won the 2008 presidential election against opponent John McCain. On January 20, 2009, Barack Obama became the first Black President of the United States.

President Obama accomplished many things while in office. He worked to improve America’s foreign relations. He oversaw an economy healing from the Great Recession of 2008. He also directed the defeat of Osama bin Laden, who led the attacks of September 11, 2001. In 2009, Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Obama Presidency wasn’t without controversy, however. He was accused of abusing his powers by issuing executive orders in areas like environmental protection and health care. He was also accused of mishandling the defense of the U.S. diplomatic post in Libya. An attack there resulted in the deaths of four Americans.

President Obama left the White House in 2017 after two terms in office. His lasting legacies include the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Paris Agreement on climate change, and Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals. Today, he continues to be involved in public affairs. He also oversees the Obama Foundation. Its mission is to inspire, empower, and connect people to change their world.

Do you dream of working in politics one day? Are your eyes set on governor, representative, or senator? Maybe someday you’ll even reach the White House!

Standards: CCRA.R.4, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.R1, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.W.3, CCRA.L.2, NCAS.A.1, NCAS.A.2, NCAS.A.3

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