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Barack Obama Day

Barack Obama Day
Official portrait of Barack Obama.jpg
President Obama
Observed byIllinois
DateAugust 4

Barack Obama Day refers to two days of recognition in the United States in honor of Barack Obama, who served as the 44th President of the United States from 2009 to 2017.

The State of Illinois celebrates the commemorative holiday every August 4, which is Obama's birthday, beginning in 2018. Obama was a member of the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004 and represented the state in the United States Senate from 2005 to 2008 before becoming president. Similar to other commemorative holidays, it is not a legal state holiday, meaning workplaces are not closed on the day.[1]

Perry County, Alabama, has celebrated the second Monday of November as Barack Obama Day since 2009.[2] County offices and schools are closed for the holiday.[3]



In 2017, Illinois State Representatives André Thapedi and Sonya Harper introduced a bill to designate Barack Obama Day as a state holiday. The original measure would have closed schools and state offices for the day. It was rejected by the House in March 2017, citing expense and the lack of a holiday for other presidents from Illinois, such as Ronald Reagan.[4]

That same year, State Senator Emil Jones III and others introduced Illinois Senate Bill 55, which designated August 4 as Barack Obama Day but did not make it an official state holiday. The bill passed both houses of the Illinois General Assembly with no votes against, and was signed into law by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner on August 4, 2017.[5] The bill amended the State Commemorative Dates Act to include a new section:

Barack Obama Day. August 4th of each year is designated as Barack Obama Day, to be observed throughout the State as a day set apart to honor the 44th President of the United States of America who began his career serving the People of Illinois in both the Illinois State Senate and the United States Senate, and dedicated his life to protecting the rights of Americans and building bridges across communities.[6]

Legislative history

Session Short description Synopsis as introduced Bill number Date introduced Senate Assembly Governor Sponsors
100th Barack Obama Day Amends the State Commemorative Dates Act. Provides that August 4 of each year is designated as Barack Obama Day. SB 0055 Prefiled December 28, 2016 Passed the Senate 47–0 Passed the House 87–0 Signed into Law by the Governor on August 4, 2017

Other recognition days

Since the United States presidential election of 2008, Obama Day is celebrated annually on November 6 in Kenya, the country from which President Obama's father originated.[7]


  1. ^ Carter, Brandon (August 6, 2017). "Illinois makes 'Barack Obama Day' a state holiday". TheHill. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  2. ^ "Renamed schools, streets mark early tributes to Obama". USA Today. January 26, 2009. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  3. ^ "Perry Co. Celebrates Annual Obama Holiday - Alabama News". Alabama News. November 14, 2016. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  4. ^ "Illinois Lawmakers Reject 'Barack Obama Day': Report". March 21, 2017. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  5. ^ "Illinois General Assembly – Bill Status for SB0055". Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  6. ^ "5 ILCS 490/ State Commemorative Dates Act". Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  7. ^ "Kenya declares holiday for Obama". BBC News. November 5, 2008. Retrieved August 22, 2017.