Barack Hussein Obama, Sr.

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Barack Obama, Sr. with Ann Dunham on his return visit to Hawaii, December 1971

Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. (1936 - November 24, 1982) was a Kenyan economist and the father of Barack Obama, Jr.

Contents

His father, Onyango Obama

Barack Obama, Sr. father was of the Luo tribe. He was born Onyango Obama around 1895 and died in 1979. He worked as a cook for missionaries in Nairobi. Onyango Obama fought for England in World War I which at the time was the colonial power of Kenya. He traveled to Europe and India eventually settling in Zanzibar. Onyango Obama first converted to Christianity and then later to Islam changing his name to Hussein Onyango Obama. [1]

Education

Barack Obama, Sr. was born in Alego, Kenya near the shores of Lake Victoria. As an adult he abandoned his Muslim religion and became an atheist. [2] At age 18 he married a girl named Kezia and took an office job as a clerk in Nairobi.

The Kenyan independence movement picked him to be groomed for a leadership position and nominated him for an American-sponsored scholarship in economics. He wrote to 30 colleges and universities seeking a scholarship: the University of Hawaii was the one that replied. [3] In the September of 1959, [4] he left his pregnant wife and their new son to attend the University of Hawaii becoming the first African student on campus. Obama Sr. was one of hundreds of Kenyan students that were given scholarships by American universities which became know as the Tom Mboya Airlift of 1959. Thomas Joseph Mboya was at the time secretary general of the Kenya Federation of Labour.

Ann Dunham

Once in Hawaii he met Ann Dunham. Media reports claim they were married February 2, 1961 in Maui. [5] Barack Obama, Jr. was born August 4, 1961. The next year in September 1962, Obama, Sr. left to attend Harvard in Boston, Massachusetts.[1] During this time Ann and her son were in Washington state where she was attending the University of Washington. Obama Sr. never left Ann; they were separated days after Barack Obama was born.[2] At Harvard Barack Obama Sr. obtained a masters degree in economics and later returned to Kenya to take a government position. [6]

Ann Dunham filed for divorce in January 1964 [7] and would go on to marry an Indonesian man, Lolo Soetoro. The couple and the young Barack Obama moved to Jakarta, Indonesia in 1967. Obama, Sr. would see his son one final time in December, 1971 when he returned to Hawaii for a month long visit and spoke at Obama’s class at Punahou High School. [8] (photo [9]) At the time Barack Obama, Jr. was living with his white grandparents.

Ruth Nidesand

At Harvard, Obama, Sr. meet an American teacher, Ruth Nidesand. Later they moved to Kenya where they were reportedly married.[3] In Kenya he worked for a period of time with a U.S. oil company. Later he joined the government of Jomo Kenyatta, working for his early patron Tom Mboya in the Ministry of Economic Planning as a senior economist.

Obama, Sr. would father four more children: two by his first wife Kezia and two by Ruth. Barack Obama, Sr. was an abusive husband and brutally beat Ruth in drunken rages. She eventually left him and married a Tanzanian. She now has the surname Ndesandjo.

Last years

Obama Sr. eventually fell out of favor with the Kenyatta government. His boastfulness and drinking was his undoing. He was in several car accidents, one leading to the loss of both legs. Although handicapped he continued his womanizing and father another son, his eighth child, to a woman who he planned to make his fourth wife. Before the marriage, Barack Obama, Sr. died in an alcohol related car accident in Nairobi, Kenya, 1982. Although Barack Obama, Sr. became an atheist in life, the Obama family insisted upon a Muslim burial. [10] His surviving family members have been suing each other over the remains of his small estate. [11]

Notes

  1. Official Obama nativity story continues to unravel
  2. Old photos, new questions about Obama nativity
  3. A father's charm, absence

External links

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