CNN Editorial Research
Here’s a look at the life of Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States.
Birth date: August 4, 1961
Birth place: Honolulu, Hawaii
Birth name: Barack Hussein Obama Jr.
Father: Barack Hussein Obama, goat herder-turned-economist
Mother: Stanley Ann (Dunham) Obama Soetoro, anthropologist
Marriage: Michelle (Robinson) Obama (October 3, 1992-present)
Children: Natasha (Sasha) and Malia
Education: Columbia University, B.A., 1983, Harvard University, J.D., 1991
The name Barack means “one who is blessed” in Swahili.
Is the first African-American to be president of the Harvard Law Review.
Nominated and won two Grammy Awards.
1964 – His parents divorce when he is two years old.
Late 1960s – Lives in Indonesia with mother and stepfather Lolo Soetoro.
1971 – Returns to Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents and attend school.
November 24, 1982 – Barack Obama Sr. dies in a car accident in Kenya.
1992-2004 – Practices civil rights law and teaches constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School.
November 7, 1995 – Obama’s mother dies of ovarian cancer at the age of 52.
1995 – Publishes his autobiography “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance” in which he admits to experimenting with marijuana and cocaine as a teenager.
1997-2005 – Illinois State Senator, representing the 13th District.
2000 – Runs for the US House seat in Illinois’ 1st District and loses to former Black Panther Bobby Rush.
July 27, 2004 – Delivers the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.
November 2004 – Wins the US Senate race in Illinois, defeating Alan Keyes. It is the first race between two African-American candidates for Senate.
January 4, 2005 – Is sworn in as US senator.
2006 – Wins a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for his reading of “Dreams From My Father.”
August 20-September 3, 2006 – Tours five African countries and visits Nyangoma-Kogelo, his father’s hometown in Kenya.
January 16, 2007 – Files papers with the FEC to form a presidential exploratory committee.
February 10, 2007 – Announces his candidacy for president at an event in Springfield, Illinois.
November 3, 2007 – Makes a surprise guest appearance on the television show “Saturday Night Live.”
January 3, 2008 – Defeats Hillary Clinton in the Iowa Democratic Caucuses with 38% of the vote.
February 10, 2008 – Wins his second Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for the audio version of his book, “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.” Former President Bill Clinton and former President Jimmy Carter also nominated.
March 18, 2008 – Makes a speech in Philadelphia defending his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who made racially-charged and anti-government comments during sermons.
June 3, 2008 – Secures enough delegates to win the nomination — 2,118 — after the South Dakota and Montana primaries.
June 19, 2008 – Announces he will not accept federal matching funds for his presidential campaign, foregoing $80 million dollars in federal money and a cap on how much he can spend.
August 23, 2008 – Chooses Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) as his running mate. Has first rally with Biden in Springfield, Illinois, in front of the old state capitol.
August 27-28, 2008 – Officially nominated as and accepts the nomination for president on the democratic ticket, becoming the first African-American candidate in US history to lead a major party.
November 3, 2008 – Grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, 86, dies in Hawaii after a long battle with cancer.
November 4, 2008 – Is elected president of the United States with an estimated 66.7 million popular votes and 365 electoral votes.
November 16, 2008 – Resigns his seat in the US Senate.
December 17, 2008 – Is named Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year.”
January 20, 2009 – Is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States, becoming the first African-American to hold the position.
January 22, 2009 – Issues executive orders regarding the closing of Guantánamo Bay, torture, and creating a review of detention facilities and of individual cases.
April 6, 2009 – Says that the United States “is not, and will never be, at war with Islam” during a speech in Turkey.
April 7, 2009 – Makes a surprise trip to Iraq, his first as president.
October 9, 2009 – Is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
March 23, 2010 – Signs the Affordable Care Act, a health care reform bill, into law.
March 28, 2010 – Makes a surprise visit to Afghanistan, his first as president.
July 21, 2010 – Signs the Wall Street reform bill into law.
August 31, 2010 – Obama delivers an address from the Oval Office to mark the end of US combat operations in Iraq.
September 1-2, 2010 – Hosts meetings between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Washington. Other participants include Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and King Abdullah II of Jordan.
April 27, 2011 – The White House releases Obama’s original birth certificate, seeking to put an end to persistent rumors that he was not born in the United States.
May 1, 2011 – Announces that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has been killed in a raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
May 5, 2011 – Attends ceremony to honor victims of September 11th at Ground Zero. Lays a wreath, meets with first responders, families and colleagues of the victims. He also visits the “Pride of Midtown” firehouse, Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9, the unit that lost 15 men, the most of any one firehouse.
May 25, 2011 – Is the first US president to address the UK Parliament.
October 21, 2011 – Announces the withdrawal of most US troops in Iraq by December 31, which would fulfill a 2008 campaign pledge to end the war.
May 9, 2012 – ABC airs excerpts from an Obama interview in which he endorses same-sex marriage. As the first sitting US president to do so, he says the legal decision should be up to the states.
June 15, 2012 – Issues an executive order suspending the deportation of certain young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children.
September 6, 2012 – Accepts the Democratic nomination for president at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina.
November 6, 2012 – Wins re-election as president of the United States, beating Republican challenger and former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney.
December 19, 2012 – Is named Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” for the second time.
January 20, 2013 – Is sworn in for his second term in a private ceremony in the Blue Room of the White House.
December 17, 2014 – Announces plans to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba and ease economic restrictions on the nation, a policy shift he calls the end of an “outdated approach” to US-Cuban relations that, “for decades, has failed to advance our interests.”
May 12, 2015 – The Barack Obama Foundation announces that Obama’s presidential library will be built in Chicago.
July 23, 2015 – Travels to Kenya for the first time as president to participate in Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi.
March 20, 2016 – Arrives in Cuba, becoming the first sitting US president to visit in 88 years.
June 9, 2016 – Endorses Hillary Clinton for president.
May 20, 2016 – Signs a bill updating the terms the government uses to describe minorities. This includes now using the terms “Asian-American,” “Native American,” “Hispanic” and “African-American.”
May 27, 2016 – Becomes the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima, Japan, where he calls for a “world without nuclear weapons.”
June 23, 2016 – The Supreme Court issues a divided ruling in a case concerning Obama’s executive actions on immigration. The programs will remain blocked and the case will return to the lower court.
June 24, 2016 – Obama announces he is designating the area around the Stonewall Inn in New York as the country’s first national monument to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights.
January 20, 2017 – Leaves office after two terms as president.
April 22, 2017 – Makes his first public appearance since leaving office. Speaks at the University of Chicago before an estimated three hundred students from universities around the Chicago area. It is billed as a “conversation on community organizing and civic engagement” and a part of Obama’s goal to “encourage and support the next generation of leaders.”
September 5, 2017 – Obama posts a statement on Facebook in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind an immigration order shielding some children of undocumented immigrants from deportation. “It is self-defeating — because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel.”
May 21, 2018 – Netflix announces the Obamas have signed a multi-year production deal in which the two will work both in front of and behind the camera to “produce a diverse mix of content.”
July 17, 2018 – Speaks at the 16th annual Nelson Mandela Lecture in South Africa. In the address in honor of the late Nelson Mandela ahead of the 100th anniversary of his birth, Obama criticizes populist movements toward authoritarianism around the world and ridicules the “utter loss of shame among political leaders” who lie.
December 12, 2018 – Receives the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights’ Ripple of Hope award.
January 2019 – Obama debuts on Billboard’s Hot R&B Songs chart at No. 22 for the musical track “One Last Time (44 Remix).” The track was released by Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the Broadway hit musical “Hamilton,” and also features Christopher Jackson and BeBe Winans.
July 13, 2019 – A life-size bronze statue of Obama is unveiled in Rapid City, South Dakota.
August 26 2019 – Obama announces an initiative to combat gerrymandering: Redistricting U. An extension of the All On The Line Campaign, Redistricting U intends to send free tools and resources that will help volunteers influence redistricting efforts in states across the US.
April 14, 2020 – Posts a video endorsing Biden for president.
June 3, 2020 – In an online event speech, Obama says that the significant events over the last months, including the protests over the killing of George Floyd and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, represent “the kinds of epic changes … in our country that are as profound as anything I have seen in my lifetime.” He personally thanks protesters in the streets across the nation following the death of Floyd, and urges young African Americans to “feel hopeful even as you may feel angry” because he feels change is coming.
November 17, 2020 – Obama’s memoir, “A Promised Land,” is published.