Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States—becoming the first African American to serve in that office—on January 20, 2009. The son of a white American mother and a black Kenyan father, Obama grew up in Hawaii. Leaving the state to attend college, he earned degrees from Columbia University and Harvard Law School.
He was a community organizer, civil-rights lawyer and teacher before pursuing a political career. He was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996 and to the U.S. Senate in 2004.