Barack Hussein Obama Sr.

On this date in 1936, Barack Hussein Obama Sr., father of future president Barack Obama II, was born near Kendu Bay, Kenya, then a British colony. Obama studied at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, earning a bachelor’s in economics in 1962. He'd met Ann Dunham on campus in 1960 and they married the next year after she became pregnant. President Obama was born to Dunham and Obama Sr. on Aug. 4, 1961, at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children in Honolulu.

Obama Sr. first married in 1954 and had two children with his wife Kezia. President Obama has noted that his father was mostly absent from his childhood since his parents divorced when he was 2.

Obama earned a master’s in economics in 1965 from Harvard University. He returned to Kenya and ultimately became a senior economist in the Kenyan Ministry of Finance. He last saw Barack Obama II when he was 10. Altogether he had four wives and eight children.

The last years of  his life were markedly difficult after he lost his government position due to conflicts with President Jomo Kenyatta. He'd lost both legs in an auto accident and died in another auto accident in Kenya at age 46. D. 1982.

“ [A]lthough my father had been raised a Muslim, by the time he met my mother he was a confirmed atheist, thinking religion to be so much superstition.”

—President Barack Obama, Time magazine (Oct. 16, 2006)

Compiled by Bonnie Gutsch

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