Sunday, January 18, 2009

Barack Obama: A Biographical Timeline -- 1

(Clockwise from top): Little Barack Obama with mother Ann Dunham; Barack Obama with his dad Barack Hussein Obama, Sr.; Barack Obama with his maternal grandfather Stanlely Dunham and grandmother Madelyn Dunham; Cigarette-smoking Barack at the Occidental College in Los Angeles; and graduating Barack Obama at the Harvard Law School
Layout & Design: Joachim Romeo D'Costa

Photos: Courtesy (Top two) -- MSNBC, (middle) --, (bottom left) -- TIME, and (bottom right) --
The New York Times

c.1895: Onyango Obama -- father of Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., and grandfather of US President-elect Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. -- was born in Kenya, a British colony. He was a Roman Catholic and belonged to the Luo tribe. When he joined the British colonial forces, he among others, were sent on duties to Europe, India and Zanzibar Island in the Indian Ocean. When in Zanzibar, he converted to Islam and renamed himself Hussein Onyango Obama. He had three wives. He died in 1979.

1936: Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., was born at Kanyadhian Village in Rachuonyo District, Kenya, on the shores of Lake Victoria. He was intelligent and a serious student.

1959: Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., of Kenya is the first African student to attend the University of Hawaii, Honolulu. This student starts to study Math and Economics on an American scholarship. He leaves behind his Kenyan wife and baby son. Although he was born into a Muslim family, he was an theist before coming to the United States.

1961: On February 2, twenty-five-year old Barack Obama, Sr., marries 18-year old and three-month pregnant Ann Dunham, a white American student from Kansas. He had met her a few months earlier in a Russian-language class. Ann Dunham was not aware of the existence of his wife and son in Africa. At that time the inter-racial marriage being a rare phenomenon, their marriage was quite a daring act. On August 4, 1961, Barack Hussein Obama, Jr., the President-elect, is born in Honolulu. After completing one semester, Ann Dunham drops out of the classes.

1963: The senior Obama wins another scholarship for graduate study at the Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts. When he goes to Boston, his wife and son Barack stay behind in Honolulu. At this time the husband-wife relationship sours. Ann Dunham restarts her studies while Obama, Jr., is taken care of by his maternal grandparents.

1964: After divorcing Obama, Sr., Ann Dunham starts dating an Indonesian Muslim university student, Lolo Soetoro.

1965: After completing his studies at the Harvard, Obama, Sr., returns to Kenya with another American wife, Ruth Nidesand.

1967: Ann Dunham and Lolo Soetoro marry and settle in Jakarta, Indonesia, with 6-year old Obama, Jr., who faces first-hand mass poverty, beggary, irregular electricity and numerous chid deaths from sickness. He starts to attend a Catholic school, called St. Francis of Assissi Primary School. His mother joins American Embassy school as an English teacher.

1969: With Soetoro's new job with an American oil company, the family moves to a better neighbourhood and young Obama joins Besuki Public School.

1970: Maya Soetoro, Obama's half-sister is born in Jakarta. Ann Dunham feels homesick and her marriage also begins to falter.

1971: Ten-year old Barack Obama is sent to his grandparents in Hawaii, where he secures a scholarship to Punahou School, a prestigious institution in the State. Students begin to call Obama 'the black kid from Indonesia'.

1972: Ann Dunham leaves his husband Soetoro in Jakarta and retuns to Honolulu with 2-year old Maya and joins 11-year old Obama. She also starts her master's degree study in anthropology at the University of Hawaii.

In the same year, Barack Obama, Sr., on a short visit to Honolulu, meets with Ann Dunham and Obama, Jr., who found this visit confusing and as a disruption to his ongoing life. This is the last time that he meets his own father, who ultimately died in a motor accident in Kenya in 1982.

1975: In the school, Obama joins the basketball team and becomes the class leader. He still feels confused about his fitting in in the school, and as a result, he tries to drink beer, smoke marijuana and take cocaine as a means of showing his toughness.

1979: Barack Obama starts his sophomore studies at the Occidental College in Los Angeles. Although he has some black friends, still he does not feel quite at home with them. At the end of the year, he transfers to Columbia University in New York. He becomes serious with this studies and completes reading a good number of books on race and social injustice.

1980: Ann Dunham divorces her second husband Lolo Soetoro.

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