Why was it important for Barack Obama to visit Kenya in Dreams From My Father?

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penelope3907 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Dreams From My Father, Barack Obama realizes that he can never truly understand who he is without understanding the country of his ancestors. Throughout the book, Obama grapples with the mystery of who his father was and what race means for him and for African Americans as a people. Though he has many other experiences in the book that help him answer these questions (living in Indonesia, being one of the only African American students at a fancy prep school, working in Chicago's poverty stricken housing projects), it is only when he travels to Kenya that he truly connects with his heritage.