Michelle Obama's roots traced to 6-year-old slave on South Carolina plantation
The child, described in the will of David Patterson simply as “the negro girl Melvinia”, was uprooted from her plantation home in South Carolina and shipped to the US state of Georgia in 1852.
There, while still a teenager, she gave birth to the son of a white man – a union of dubious status that would have been looked down upon at the time but one which produced the First Lady’s maternal great-great-grandfather.
The wife of President Barack Obama grew up with only a vague awareness of her ancestry, but a paternal great-great-grandfather, Jim Robinson, who was also a slave, was identified during the presidential election campaign.
The five-generation journey from a plantation to the White House, unveiled on Wednesday by Megan Smolenyak, a genealogist working with The New York Times, for the first time draws a direct line on the First Lady’s family tree to America’s history of slavery.
The First Lady is hailed by many as a symbol of the advancement of black Americans, and Mrs Obama’s genealogy is far more relevant to most African-Americans than that of her husband, the son of a white American mother and a black father from Kenya.
comments powered by Disqus
- How Americans Feel About Religious Groups
- Tea Party support linked to educational segregation, new study shows
- History of Philly Rests Under I-95
- Agreement aims to protect North Shore wrecks from looters
- Award-Winning Filmmaker Kevin McCann to Produce the First Film about the Easter Rising in Ireland
- It's official: 2014 AHA election results are in
- In new book UC Berkeley historian Waldo E. Martin, Jr. takes Black Panther Party's point of view
- Economics historian finds that real social mobility takes hundreds of years
- Historian Tim Furnish says liberals shouldn't be astonished that ISIS is stoning women to death -- "in many Muslim countries ... large majorities ... favor stoning"
- Historian turns baker?