From Cold War fears, to the Civil Rights movement, Feminism and the United States' presence abroad, Ann Dunham's journey from a small town in Kansas to the remote villages of Indonesia, taught her what it truly meant to be an American.
Her family's mid-Western roots influenced her measured demeanor, and their experiences with racism in Texas, lead them to begin a voyage Westwards, to Seattle, Hawaii and finally Java. This voyage of discovery as an American girl, then expatriate abroad, helped her to understand more fully what it means to be an American. Her professional and private life drove her towards other cultures and people, resulting in her creating for her own children, an understanding of the multicultural experience which is our common future.
Her influence on her children, and thus on the future President of the United States, resulted in an event which has been seen around the world as providing hope for all people. Her understanding of the importance of education to create a better life is reflected by the work she did. At the time, interracial marriage was illegal in most states. Dunham was three months pregnant when the two tied the knot in a ceremony so discrete that her son never uncovered any records of the event, according to Scott's biography of Dunham, "A Singular Woman.
By the time Obama was a year old, his father, Barack Obama Sr.
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By the time he was six, he had moved with his mother to Indonesia after she married Lolo Soetoro. The couple had a daughter, Maya Soetoro, before they divorced in Dunham died a few weeks short of her 53rd birthday, of uterine and ovarian cancer, two years before her son was elected to the Illinois state senate. Her 1,page dissertation explored the indigenous craft of blacksmithing in Indonesia, a topic she had studied for more than 20 years.
She died two years after completing it. She had instilled in her son the importance of education, making him rise before the sun came up to do his homework. She would tell people that her son was gifted, "that he can do anything he ever wants in the world, even be president of the United States.
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