bama attended Columbia University, but found New Yorks racial tension inescapable. He became a community organizer for a small Chicago church based group for three years, helping poor South Side residents cope with a wave of plant closings. He then attended Harvard Law School, and in 1990 became the first African American editor of the Harvard Law Review. He turned down a prestigious judicial clerkship, choosing instead to practice civil rights law back in Chicago, representing victims of housing and employment discrimination and working on voting rights legislation. He also began teaching at the University of Chicago Law School, and married Michelle Robinson, a fellow attorney. Eventually he was elected to the Illinois state senate, where his district included both Hyde Park and some of the poorest ghettos on the South Side.
In 2004 Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat, representing Illinois, and he gained national attention by giving a rousing and well received keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. In 2008 he ran for President, and despite having only four years of national political experience, he won. In January 2009, he was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, and the first African American ever elected to that position. Obama was reelected to a second term in November 2012.