Barack Obama was born on August 4, 1961 in Hawaii, the son of immigrants to the U.S. He attended Occidental College for two years before transferring to Columbia University in New York, where he became interested in a career as a social activist.
After graduation, Obama found work as a community organizer, which led him to Chicago. Obama was hired to head this organization and served in this capacity for over three years. However, realizing the limitations of working at such a localized level, Obama enrolled at Harvard Law School. At Harvard, Obama excelled, eventually becoming the President of the Harvard Law Review, the first African American ever to hold this position. After he graduated from Harvard, Obama wrote a book, Dreams from My Father, based on his family's experiences. He went to work at the Chicago law firm of Miner, Barnhill & Galland, On advice from friends, Obama ran for a vacant State Senate seat in 1996, and was successfully elected to represent the 13th Legislative District. In 2000, Obama ran for a seat in Congress but lost to incumbent Bobby Rush. In 2004, Obama successfully ran for a seat in the United States Senate representing Illinois, becoming only the fifth African American Senator in United States history.
In addition to his legislative duties, Obama teaches classes in constitutional law at the University of Chicago and continues in his law practice. Obama and his wife, Michelle, are the parents of two daughters.