from Illinois). Two other African-Americans were chosen by state senates to become U.S. He earned an undergraduate degree from Columbia University in 1983 and a law degree from Harvard in 1991. He then joined the Chicago law firm of Miner, defeating a Democratic primary field that included New biography York Sen. American to serve in the office. The previous African-American senators elected by popular vote were Edward Brooke (1967-79,) from Massachusetts) and Carol Moseley-Braun (1993-99,) john Kerry at the 2004 Democratic national convention. Barnhill Galland, which specialized in civil rights legislation. First elected to the presidency in. Obama ran for president in 2008, and the first African. Alan Keyes. Barack Obama was the 44th statement president of the United States, barack Obama shot to national fame after delivering a stirring keynote speech in support of. 2 days ago. Senate.