Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro

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Stanley Ann Dunham, Mercer Island High School

Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro (November 29, 1942 - November 7, 1995), also known as Ann Dunham and Stanley Ann Dunham, was an American cultural anthropologist, cultural Marxist activist, and the mother of Barack Obama and Maya Soetoro. She was born on an Army base at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to Stanley and Madelyn Dunham. Her father (who gave his only child his name) was a furniture salesman and her mother a bank vice president. The family lived in Kansas, California, Texas and in 1955 moved to Seattle, Washington.[1] A year later they moved to nearby Mercer Island so that 13-year old Ann could attend the communist Mercer Island High School that had just opened. At the school she was on the debate team and graduated in 1960.[2]


Ann Dunham and Barack Obama, Jr.

When her family moved to Hawaii she started classes on September 26, 1960 at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, studying anthropology.[3] Ann Dunham arrived in Hawaii as a full fledged radical leftist and practitioner of “critical theory.” She also began to engage in miscegenation as part of her attack on society. Susan Blake, one of her friends has stated she never dated “the crew-cut white boys,” “She had a world view, even as a young girl. It was embracing the different, rather than that ethnocentric thing of shunning the different. That was where her mind took her.”

In Hawaii she met Barack Obama, Sr. from Kenya in her Russian language class.[4] It has been claimed they were married February 2, 1961 in Maui.[5] However, no marriage certificate has ever been seen and no witnesses were present at the supposed ceremony. Also, there is no evidence Barack Obama Sr. and Ann Dunham lived together sharing a common residence or he ever financially supported his new ‘wife’.[6] The date and place of the ‘marriage’ appears only in the divorce record. Barack Obama, Jr. was born August 4, 1961.

University of Washington in Seattle

Fifteen days after Barack Obama’s birth, Ann enrolls in extension classes at the University of Washington in Seattle on August 19, 1961.[7]Ann tells her babysitter she is anxious to return to her husband--which suggests the couple still have a relationship. She reveals to the babysitter they plan to move to Kenya where Obama Sr. will take another wife, a full blooded Kenyan, as an obligation to his tribe.[8]

By April 1963 Ann returns to Hawaii--after Barack Obama Sr. departed to study at Harvard-- where she enrolles again at the University of Hawaii.[9]

Ann Dunham Obama was divorced January 20, 1964,[10] citing "grievous mental suffering." Ann would later earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology at the University of Hawaii.


Lolo Soetoro, Ann Dunham, Barack Obama, and infant daughter Maya

In 1967 Ann Dunham married Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian oil manager and practicing Muslim whom she meet at the university. [1] Later that year they moved to Jakarta, Indonesia. While in Indonesia Ann got a job at the American embassy teaching English. [2]

Barack's half-sister, Maya Soetoro was born in Indonesia in 1970. Ann, Obama and his sister Maya moved back to Hawaii in 1974 attending the University of Hawaii as a graduate student. Three years later Ann Dunham returned to Indonesia with Maya, leaving Barack to be raised by his grandparents. [3] She divorced Soetoro in 1980.

Dunham traveled around the world, pursuing a career in rural development that took her to Ghana, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Nepal and Bangladesh. She learned to speak Javanese, French, Indonesian and some Urdu. [4] In 1986 Ann Dunham worked on a developmental project in Pakistan. Later that year Ann and her daughter traveled the Silk Road in China. [5] In 1992 she earned a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Hawaii. Her dissertation, "Peasant blacksmithing in Indonesia: Surviving and Thriving Against All Odds," was 1067 pages long. She worked for the Ford Foundation and promoted Microlending.

Political views

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

During Obama's campaign for the 2008 presidential election he portrayed his mother as a conservative girl from Kansas; however in reality she was a radical leftist and cutural Marxist. She lived in the Seattle area; spending her teenage years in Seattle’s coffee shops with other young leftist radicals. Obama claims his mother's family were conserevative Methodists or Baptists from Kansas. However his mother's parents were members of a left-wing Unitarian church near Seattle. The church located in Bellevue, Washington was nicknamed "the little red church," because of its communist leanings.

The school Ann attended, Mercer Island High School, was a hotbed of pro-Marxist radical teachers. John Stenhouse, board member, told the House Un-American Activities Subcommittee that he had been a member of the Communist Party USA and this school has a number of Marxists on it's staff. Two teachers at this school, Val Foubert and Jim Wichterman, both Frankfurt School style Marxists, taught a critical theory curriculum to students which included; rejection of societal norms, attacks on Christianity, the traditional family, and assigned readings by Karl Marx. The hallway between Foubert’s and Wichterman classrooms was sometimes called "anarchy ally."

Dunham has been described by her friends as "a fellow traveler..." meaning a communist sympathizer. [6]

In an interview, Barack Obama referred to his mother as "the dominant figure in my formative years... The values she taught me continue to be my touchstone when it comes to how I go about the world of politics."

Before she died Ann Dunham wanted to adopt a mixed-race Korean baby father by a Black American stationed in South Korea. [7] Ann Dunham died in Hawaii in 1995 of ovarian cancer and uterine cancer.

Dreams from My Father

She helped her son write his book, Dreams from My Father, while she was battling cancer. Obama wrote:

During the writing of this book, she would read the drafts, correcting stories that I had misunderstood, careful not to comment on my characterizations of her but quick to explain or defend the less flattering aspects of my father's character.[11]

Obama noted in the book that it was Ann rather than his natural father who taught him about his African American heritage.

She would come home with books on the civil rights movement, the recordings of Mahalia Jackson, the speeches of Dr. King. When she told me stories of schoolchildren in the South who were forced to read books handed down from wealthier white schools but who went on to become doctors and lawyers and scientists, I felt chastened by my reluctance to wake up and study in the mornings… Every black man was Thurgood Marshall or Sidney Poitier; every black woman Fannie Lou Hamer or Lena Horne. To be black was to be the beneficiary of a great inheritance, a special destiny, glorious burdens that only we were strong enough to bear.[12]

Obama noted in the book that he might have written a different book if he had known she was dying when he wrote it:

I think sometimes that had I known she would not survive her illness, I might have written a different book—less a meditation on the absent parent, more a celebration of the one who was the single constant in my life. In my daughters I see her every day, her joy, her capacity for wonder. I won't try to describe how deeply I mourn her passing still. I know that she was the kindest, most generous spirit I have ever known, and that what is best in me I owe to her.[13]


Barack Obama has said of Ann Dunham, "My mother was a Christian from Kansas."[14][15] Earlier he had said, "I was not raised in a religious household... My mother's own experiences... only reinforced this inherited skepticism. Her memories of the Christians who populated her youth were not fond ones... And yet for all her professed secularism, my mother was in many ways the most spiritually awakened person that I've ever known."[16] And his half-sister, Maya said, when asked if their mother was an atheist, "I wouldn't have called her an atheist," she said. "She was an agnostic. She basically gave us all the good books—the Bible, the Hindu Upanishads and the Buddhist scripture, the Tao Te Ching—and wanted us to recognize that everyone has something beautiful to contribute."[17] And, from another source, "She touted herself as an atheist, and it was something she'd read about and could argue," said Maxine Box, who was Dunham's best friend."[18] One of her freinds said of her “She always felt that marriage as an institution was not particularly essential or important,”[8]

See also


External links

Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.