Where was Obama's white grandmother?





Frail and zealously shielded from a prying media, the 85-year-old woman Obama affectionately calls "Toot" won't be in Denver when he takes the stage at the Democratic National Convention. But as the Illinois senator becomes the first black man to accept a major party's presidential nomination, friends and family will be looking for glimpses of the white woman who had as much to do with shaping his character as anyone.

Madelyn Lee Payne was born in October 1922 in the tiny town of Peru, Kan. Not long thereafter, Rolla Payne moved his young family to the nearby boomtown of Augusta, population about 5,000.

It was a place that Obama would describe in his memoir, "Dreams from My Father," as one "where decency and endurance and the pioneer spirit were joined at the hip with conformity and suspicion and the potential for unblinking cruelty."


comments powered by Disqus