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Barack Obama's Mother Had a Degree in Anthropology — Facts about Her Life

Joe Akins
May 10, 2020
04:00 A.M.
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Barack Obama's mother had a degree in Anthropology and lived an exciting and fulfilling life before passing away in 1995. Here are some facts about her life.


Motherhood occurs in various ways for various people. Each mother's parenting style is different and is often to the best of their knowledge. Irrespective of the motherhood journey or parenting style, one thing that cannot be ignored is the love the child feels from their mother.

The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama has often acknowledged that while his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham had a unique style of parenting, he knew she loved him unconditionally. Here are some facts about Stanley Ann Dunham.

A white and black portrait of President Barack Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham | Photo: Wikimedia

A white and black portrait of President Barack Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham | Photo: Wikimedia



Born on November 29, 1942, to the family of Stanley Armour Dunham and Madelyn Dunham, Ann Dunham was named Stanley Ann Dunham by her father who thought she was going to be a boy.

With her parents often moving from place to place, Stanley Ann Dunham developed a love for nomadism, which she practiced for most of her life. While she loved her middle name Ann, she opted to have Stanley removed as she did not like it.

Free-spirited and often known for her eccentric and unique way of doing things, throughout her life, Ann had used four different names. Growing up she was Stanley Dunham, in college she was Ann Dunham, after her first marriage she was Ann Obama and became Ann Soetoro after her second marriage.



In 1992, Ann Dunham was awarded a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Hawaii after spending almost twenty years studying the lifestyle of blacksmiths in Indonesia.

Ann's lessons and legacy would forever live on.

Her dissertation, which was about a thousand pages long, explored the indigenous craft of blacksmithing in Indonesia. While doing the research, Ann was a resident in Indonesia to get a full grasp of the culture.

President Obama's mother, Ann Dunham and family | Photo: Wikimedia

President Obama's mother, Ann Dunham and family | Photo: Wikimedia



At the age of 18 years old, Ann gave birth to her first child Barack Obama who would go on to become the President of the United States of America, a feat she did not see him achieve but believed he could. She also had a daughter Maya from her second marriage to Lolo Soetoro. Speaking of his mother, Barack said she gave him:

"a sense of un­conditional love that was big enough that, with all the surface dis­turbances of our lives, it sustained me, entirely."

In her autobiography written by Janny Scott and titled "A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother," Janny reported that according to friends and family, Ann always believed that her son was going to achieve great things and perhaps even become the first black President.



To those who knew Ann, she was an eccentric character whose personal beliefs and ideologies were different from those she was around.

In raising her children, Ann instilled in them the need for love and empathy towards others, making sure that they understood how others felt about their actions.

In her work and interaction with people, Ann exuded love and friendship and openness with those around her.

Although she died a few days before her 53rd birthday on November 7, 1995, from ovarian cancer, Ann's lessons and legacy would forever live on in the hearts of those who cherished her.

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