Stanley Ann Dunham

The story of Barack Obama is really the story of Stanley Ann Dunham.

Mainstream media sources, the recollection of friends and associates and Obama's account in "Dreams..." are frequently at odds about where Stanley Ann was and what she was doing at any point during the early sixties. No one knows for sure and there are no records to document Stanley Ann's movements between December, 1960, when she disappeared from Hawaii and August, 1961 when she showed up in Seattle with two week old Baby Obama.

Stanley Ann Dunham impressed her high-school classmates with a wickedly sharp wit. She was an "intellectual rebel" with a fledgling beatnik sensibility that would eventually take her around the globe.

Dunham gravitated toward an intellectual clique. According to former classmate Chip Wall, she caught foreign films at Seattle's only art-house theater, the Ridgemont, and trekked to University District coffee shops like the Encore to talk about jazz, the value of learning from other cultures and the very dull Eisenhower-ness of our parents. She was not a standard-issue girl. You don't start out life as a girl with a name like Stanley without some sense you are not ordinary.

Known as Stanley Ann, Obama's mother, was a strong-willed, unconventional member of the Mercer Island High School graduating class of 1960. She spent 8th grade through high school there and graduated with a 3.35 grade-point average.

Curious and precocious, Stanley Ann Dunham was greatly influenced by left-wing and communist teachers in the Mercer Island High School, who had the students read the philosophers Sartre and Kierkegaard, "The Communist Manifesto" and question the existence of God. Stanley Ann touted herself as an atheist.

Mercer Island High was a hotbed of pro-Marxist radical teachers. John Stenhouse, a school board member, testified before the House Un-American Activities Subcommittee that he had been a member of the Communist Party USA and the school had a number of Marxists on its staff. Two of the teachers at this school, Val Foubert and Jim Wichterman, both Frankfurt School style Marxists, taught a critical theory curriculum to their students that included the rejection of societal norms, attacks on Christianity and the traditional family. Foubert and Jim Wichterman assigned readings by Karl Marx and other leftist philosophers. The hallway between Foubert’s and Wichterman classrooms was called "anarchy ally."

Dunham gravitated toward an intellectual clique. According to former classmate Chip Wall, she caught foreign films at Seattle's only art-house theater, the Ridgemont, and trekked to University District coffee shops like the "Encore" to talk about jazz, the value of learning from other cultures and the "very dull Eisenhower-ness of our parents."

"We were critiquing America in those days in the same way we are today. The press is dumbed-down, education is dumbed down, people don't know anything about geography or the rest of the world," said Wall, who later taught at Mercer Island High and is now retired in Seattle.

A high school classmate described Stanley Ann as "a fellow traveler... We were liberals before we knew what liberals were."

In 1960, Anna's father was offered a better opportunity for his family at a furniture store in Hawaii and so the Dunhams moved to Honolulu.

Beginning that summer (1960), with the family's move to Hawaii, Stanley Ann entered her "beatnik" period. She was also a full-fledged, radical leftist and practitioner of critical theory.