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Senator Barack Obama's story starts in two opposite corners of the world. His white mother was born in Wichita, Kansas. His black father grew up in a tiny village in Kenya, where he was the first in his tribe to get an education. They met during college in Hawaii, but their marriage did not last. When Senator Barack was just two years old, his father left the family. Senator Barack only met his father one other time.

His mother eventually remarried and moved with Barack and her new husband to Indonesia. At 10, Barack moved back to Hawaii to live with his white grandparents and to attend a prestigious school. He struggled with his identity, and he says "ended up getting involved in drugs and drinking too much."

Despite the strikes against him, he turned his life around, graduating from Columbia University and spending years as a community organizer. He then went on to be a star at Harvard Law School, becoming the first African-American president of the renowned Harvard Law Review before returning to public service.

"All of these different strands in me—the black, the white, the African—all of that has contributed directly to my success because when I meet people, I see a piece of myself in them. And maybe they see a piece of themselves in me," Senator Barack explains.
FROM: Living The American Dream: Barack Obama and Mark Burnett
Published on January 19, 2005