Nelson Mandela was born Rolihlahla Mandela on July 18, 1918 in Mvezo, South Africa. His teacher later named him Nelson as part of a custom to give all schoolchildren Christian names. He briefly attended University College of Fort Hare but was expelled after taking part in a protest with Oliver Tambo, with whom he later operated the nation's first black law firm. He eventually completed a bachelor's degree through correspondence courses and studied law at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He left without graduating in 1948. Mandela was part of the African National Congress (ANC) and spent many years as a freedom fighter. When the South African government outlawed the ANC after the Sharpeville Massacre, he went underground to form a new military wing of the organization. In 1964, he was sentenced to life in prison for sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government. Instead of testifying at the trial, he opted to give a speech that was more than four hours long and ended with a defiant statement. While in prison, he received a bachelor's degree in law in absentia from the University of South Africa. In 1990, Mandela was released from prison after 27 years. He served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with former South African President F.W. de Klerk in 1993 for transitioning the nation from a system of racial segregation. After leaving the presidency, Mandela retired from active politics, but continued championing causes such as human rights, world peace and the fight against AIDS. He died on November 5, 2013 at the age of 95.
President Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 4, 1961. He graduated with a degree in political science from Columbia University in 1983. Before moving to Chicago in 1985, he worked at Business International Corporation and then at the New York Public Interest Research Group. In Chicago, he worked as a community organizer with low-income residents. He entered Harvard Law School in 1988, was elected editor of the Harvard Law Review in 1990, and graduated in 1991. After graduating law school, he returned to Chicago and became a civil rights lawyer. He also taught at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. In 1997, he was elected to the Illinois State Senate and served until 2004. In 2000, he made an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2005, he was elected to the U.S. Senate. In 2007, he announced his candidacy for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. On November 4, 2008, Obama defeated John McCain in the general election and became the first African-American to be elected President of the United States. He wrote Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance in 1995 and The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream in 2006. He won Best Spoken Word Album Grammy Awards in 2006 and 2008 for abridged audiobook versions of both books. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. His book Of Thee I Sing came out in 2010.