Obama Draws on the Audacity of Mom

Kansas-born Ann Dunham worked to uplift the poor in the world's most fractured places
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2008 4:15 PM CST

(Newser) – Barack Obama’s mother is sometimes described just as “a white woman from Kansas,” but Ann Dunham possessed an indomitable spirit and fierce open-mindedness that profoundly shaped her son. Dunham was a single mom and social activist who worked in Indonesia and Pakistan, and consulted for the World Bank and USAID. Bloomberg looks at one of the women behind the man who would be president.

“What is best in me I owe to her,” Obama has written; his half-sister says their mom gave her children “our desire to challenge ourselves with new vistas.” And if Dunham, who died of cancer in 1995, were here, says a friend: "She'd be saying, with a little chuckle, 'Here's one of our own' and 'He's going to show them.'" (Read more Barack Obama stories.)