Dr. Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro (Feminist)

Dr. Stanley Ann Dunham SoetoroA former classmate of Dr. Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro (mother of President Barack Obama), remembered her as "intellectually way more mature than we were and a little bit ahead of her time, in an off-center way."

A high school friend described her as knowledgeable and progressive:

"If you were concerned about something going wrong in the world, Stanley would know about it first.

We were liberals before we knew what liberals were." Another called her "the original feminist."

From the biography of President Barack Obama's mother, Dr. Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro:

It was in a college language class that Ann Dunham met Barack Obama. He was a Kenyan national recruited overseas on a college scholarship, and was reputed to be an opinionated, magnetic debater.

He and Dunham soon began dating. Several months later, Dunham became pregnant. She and Barack were married in a private ceremony on February 2, 1961. On August 4, 1961, Ann gave birth to a boy and named him Barack Obama, Jr. after his father.

After one semester at the University of Hawaii, Ann Dunham withdrew from college to help care for her new family. Soon after, Barack Sr. accepted a scholarship to pursue a Ph.D. in economics at Harvard University.

Acknowledging her husband's life quest of revitalizing Kenya's economy, Dunham decided to remain behind in Hawaii. In 1964 Ann filed for divorce, a decision which Barack Sr. did not contest.

Approximately one year later, Dunham returned to the University of Hawaii. With help from her parents and government food stamps, she was able to juggle a full schedule of classes while caring for her son.

Despite life as a struggling young mother, Ann Dunham earned her undergraduate degree in four years. During her tenure at the University of Hawaii, Dunham became romantically involved with fellow student Lolo Soetoro.

...Ann Soetoro was often grieved by the quality of life for local Indonesians. Those who were close to her say she was compassionate almost to a fault, and would give money to countless ailing beggars. As Ann became more interested in Indonesian culture, her husband Lolo began working for a Western oil company.

Bored by the domestic, traditional course her marriage had taken, Ann intensified her focus on formal education. She began teaching English in the American Embassy. In the mornings she would give Barack Jr. his English lessons, and in the evenings she would give him books on civil rights and play him Mahalia Jackson's gospel songs.