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The work merited some brief but mostly complimentary reviews in the press. Treasury official, and his signature was the first from an African American to appear on U. Edward William Brooke III (1919–), a Republican from Massachusetts, was elected to the U. Rush's campaign stressed his experience and questioned Obama's support base among wealthier white voters in the city, and Obama was solidly defeated in the primary, winning just 30 percent of the vote. Suddenly, state and even national Democratic Party leaders began taking him and his Senate campaign seriously.

Obama, however, was not hoping for a career as an author: he decided to run for a seat in the Illinois state senate. A few years later, Obama decided to run for a seat in the U. In the primary, he had managed to do what few African American politicians had ever done: record an impressive number of votes from precincts that had a predominantly white population.

Outside the house, he was considered African American, but the only family he knew was his white one at home.

For a time, he loafed and let his grades slip; instead of studying, he spent hours on the basketball court with his friends, and has admitted that there was a time when he experimented with drugs, namely marijuana and cocaine.

He also began to explore his African roots and not long after his father's death traveled to meet his relatives in Kenya for the first time.

After he earned his undergraduate degree in political science, he became a community organizer in Harlem—but quickly realized he could not afford to live in the city with a job that paid so little.

"I was affected by the problems that I think a lot of young African American teens have," he reflected in an interview with Kenneth Meeks for Black Enterprise.

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He championed a bill that gave tax breaks to low-income families, worked to expand a state health-insurance program for uninsured children, and wrote a bill that required law enforcement officials in every community to begin keeping track of their traffic stops and noting the race of the driver. Rush was a former Barack Obama became the fifth African American senator in U. During the Reconstruction Era, federal troops occupied the defeated Southern states and, along with transplanted government officials, one of their duties was to make sure that newly freed slaves were allowed to vote fairly and freely in elections. Instead they were elected by legislators in the state assemblies, or appointed by the governor. Chicago news outlets publicized Ryan's divorce documents from 1999, which revealed one or two incidents that seemed distinctly at odds with a Republican "family values" platform.

Obama's time at the Law Review had netted him an offer to write a book. Barack Obama won his bid for the Senate by a large margin, taking 70 percent of the Illinois vote, thus becoming one of the youngest members of the U. Senate when he was sworn into office in January 2005.

The result was Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, published by Times Books in 1995. Nearly a hundred years passed before another African American was elected to the Senate, and this came by statewide vote. In 1992 another Illinois Democrat, Carol Moseley Braun (1947–), became the first African American woman to serve in the U. 1960s radical who had founded the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, a revolutionary black nationalist party of the era. Some of Obama's supporters thought he was aiming too high, but this time he beat out six other Democratic challengers in the primary with 53 percent of the vote.

And often, this results in self-destructive behavior." Obama graduated from Punahou and went on to Occidental College in Los Angeles, where he decided to get serious about his studies.

Midway through, he transferred to the prestigious Columbia University in New York City.

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