Barack Hussein Obama II was born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii to Barack Obama, Sr. and Ann Dunham. Barack’s father, Barack Obama Sr., was born in the Nyanza Province of Kenya before moving to Hawaii. He earned a scholarship to attend school at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. There, he met Ann Dunham. As a white woman, Dunham grew up in Wichita, Kansas. Obama’s maternal grandfather, Stanley, served in World War II after Pearl Harbor. After the war, he and his wife, Madelyn, took advantage of the GI Bill, eventually moving to Hawaii. Their daughter, Ann, also attended the University of Hawaii where she met Barack Obama, Sr. The two married on February 2, 1961.

Barack Obama’s Childhood was a bit unsettling. Not long after Barack was born, his parents separated. His mother took him and relocated to Seattle for a year to attend the University of Washington while his father completed his economics degree in Hawaii and then went to Harvard University for graduate school. His parents ultimately divorced in March 1964. Barack Obama Sr. eventually returned to Kenya and remarried. Obama’s mother, Ann, returned to Hawaii and remarried Lolo Soetoro in 1965. Soetoro was in Hawaii studying geography under an exchange program. When his visa expired, the family then moved to Indonesia in 1967 for several years.

While in Indonesia, Barack and his family lived in Jakarta. His half-sister, Maya Soetoro Ng, was born there. Obama attended St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School and Besuki Public School before moving back to Hawaii at the age of ten. Barack lived with his maternal grandparents while he attended Punahou Academy, a private prep school. While at Punahou, Barack excelled both academically and at sports, specifically basketball. However, his high school years were also a difficult time. He struggled with being black and the prevailing racial stereotypes. Obama admits to using alcohol and marijuana during high school but has also expressed regret for his drug use. Obama wrestled with issues related to having few black role models and what it meant to be an African American in a predominantly white society.

On top of that, Obama never had a relationship with his father who moved back to Kenya. His father only visited his son once while he lived in Hawaii, and then he died in 1982 following a car crash in Nairobi. Obama also had limited contact with his mother and sister after moving to Hawaii. His mother and sister returned for Hawaii for three years but then moved back to Indonesia so his mother could do field work in anthropology. Obama’s mother, Ann, divorced Lolo Soetoro in 1980. Ann eventually earned her PhD in anthropology but died in 1995 after a fight with cancer. Neither his father nor his mother lived long enough to see their son make history when he won the presidency in 2008. Barack’s biography is marked with family tragedy.