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In First Lady’s Roots, a Complex Path From Slavery [White Great-Great-Great-GrandDaddy]
NYTimes ^ | October 07th 2009

Posted on 10/07/2009 7:12:36 PM PDT by Steelfish

In First Lady’s Roots, a Complex Path From Slavery

RACHEL L. SWARNS and JODI KANTOR October 7, 2009

WASHINGTON — In 1850, the elderly master of a South Carolina estate took pen in hand and painstakingly divided up his possessions. Among the spinning wheels, scythes, tablecloths and cattle that he bequeathed to his far-flung heirs was a 6-year-old slave girl valued soon afterward at $475.

In his will, she is described simply as the “negro girl Melvinia.” After his death, she was torn away from the people and places she knew and shipped to Georgia. While she was still a teenager, a white man would father her first-born son under circumstances lost in the passage of time.

In the annals of American slavery, this painful story would be utterly unremarkable, save for one reason: This union, consummated some two years before the Civil War, marked the origins of a family line that would extend from rural Georgia, to Birmingham, Ala., to Chicago and, finally, to the White House.

Melvinia Shields, the enslaved and illiterate young girl, and the unknown white man who impregnated her are the great-great-great-grandparents of Michelle Obama, the first lady.

Viewed by many as a powerful symbol of black advancement, Mrs. Obama grew up with only a vague sense of her ancestry, aides and relatives said. During the presidential campaign, the family learned about one paternal great-great-grandfather, a former slave from South Carolina, but the rest of Mrs. Obama’s roots were a mystery.

Now the more complete map of Mrs. Obama’s ancestors — including the slave mother, white father and their biracial son, Dolphus T. Shields — for the first time fully connects the first African-American first lady to the history of slavery, tracing their five-generation journey from bondage to a front-row seat to the presidency.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: bho44; crymeariver; flotusmichelle; obamafamily; roots

1 posted on 10/07/2009 7:12:36 PM PDT by Steelfish
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To: Steelfish

Mmm, mmm, mmm.


2 posted on 10/07/2009 7:14:12 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Hear us, O Bama: Mmm, mmm, mmm.)
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To: Steelfish

Where’s a pic of the $400 snack for MO from last year when you need it? Persian caviar is so hard to find when you get that craving. Then there’s the dancing lessons and all the Versace gowns. Slaving in the garden requires $600 boots. Just ask the unemployed and homeless. In Detroit.


3 posted on 10/07/2009 7:15:21 PM PDT by combat_boots (The Lion of Judah cometh. Hallelujah. Gloria Patri, Filio et Spirito Sancto.)
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To: Steelfish

My ancestors were enslaved for 700 years. They lived in Spain under the Moors. I want repayment!


4 posted on 10/07/2009 7:18:41 PM PDT by trimom
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To: Steelfish
One drop of honky makes one a cracker trailer trash racist 100%.

I demand reparations from this cracker mook.


Frowning takes 68 muscles.
Smiling takes 6.
Pulling this trigger takes 2.
I'm lazy.

5 posted on 10/07/2009 7:19:52 PM PDT by The Comedian (Evil can only succeed if good men don't point at it and laugh.)
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To: Steelfish

I saw the story on ABC today. So neat they could trace the ancestors of Ma Zero and find all that ancient documentation, yet they can’t locate hubby’s ACTUAL birth certificate and all his school records and other documents.


6 posted on 10/07/2009 7:20:06 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (~"This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps !"~~)
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To: trimom

Don’t you mean the Moops ?


7 posted on 10/07/2009 7:20:39 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (~"This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps !"~~)
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To: Steelfish

Wonder when Michelle is going to come out with her story about how she sat on her Great, Great, Great Grandfather’s knee watching another Olympic game?


8 posted on 10/07/2009 7:21:38 PM PDT by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote; then find me a real conservative to vote for)
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To: Steelfish

Note the molestation by the white man.


9 posted on 10/07/2009 7:23:08 PM PDT by BunnySlippers (I LOVE BULL MARKETS . . .)
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To: Steelfish
The truth is that everybody has slaves in their ancestry if you go back a while. Slavery was the normal practice of all civilizations during recorded history. The black Africans where just the ones in the barrel when the practice was abolished in Christian countries in the 18th -19th centuries. The idea that slavery was some kind of ‘original sin’ in America is a-historical nonsense.
10 posted on 10/07/2009 7:23:19 PM PDT by Old North State
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To: Steelfish

My ancestors were slaves under Pharoah. Egypt owes me big time.


11 posted on 10/07/2009 7:24:04 PM PDT by MestaMachine (One if by land, 2 if by sea, 3 if by Air Force 1.)
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To: Old North State

and islam helped....


12 posted on 10/07/2009 7:25:07 PM PDT by MestaMachine (One if by land, 2 if by sea, 3 if by Air Force 1.)
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To: Steelfish
I'm sorry - but who really gives a $hit?
13 posted on 10/07/2009 7:26:04 PM PDT by USMA '71 ((Re-elect no one!))
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To: BunnySlippers
Note the molestation by the white man.

Rape of black women was common in the South - a shameful part of our heritage. Then again, if Hollywood had existed back they, they'd be siding with the rapist...

14 posted on 10/07/2009 7:30:09 PM PDT by GOPJ (MSM BIAS: grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell)
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To: USMA '71

I wuz gonna say that. Then I saw the part about poor little Melvinia, and well......you know. /sarc


15 posted on 10/07/2009 7:32:25 PM PDT by MestaMachine (One if by land, 2 if by sea, 3 if by Air Force 1.)
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To: Steelfish
Melvinia Shields, the enslaved and illiterate young girl, and the unknown white man who impregnated her are the one of sixteen sets of great-great-great-grandparents of Michelle Obama, the first lady

Fixed it.

Doesn't have quite the impact now, does it?

16 posted on 10/07/2009 7:34:25 PM PDT by lightman (Adjutorium nostrum (+) in nomine Domini)
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To: Steelfish
"Melvinia Shields, the enslaved and illiterate young girl, and the unknown white man who impregnated her are the great-great-great-grandparents of Michelle Obama, the first lady."

Let's ask Whoopi if it was rape-rape. She seems to know what is in the minds of people and has her own special interpretation of law.

17 posted on 10/07/2009 7:38:00 PM PDT by Earthdweller (Harvard won the election again...so what's the problem.......?)
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To: BunnySlippers
"Note the molestation by the white man."

Who says it wasn't consenual miscegenation? There seems to be quite a bit of that still going on -- right, Ms Dunham?

18 posted on 10/07/2009 7:43:02 PM PDT by TXnMA (REVIEWed it...)
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To: Steelfish
I think this Megan Smolenyakis is a writer of fiction. I worked for 25 years on family genealogy and it it not so easy to document family history. JMO
19 posted on 10/07/2009 7:52:07 PM PDT by BARLF
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To: Steelfish
In 1850, the elderly master of a South Carolina estate took pen in hand and painstakingly divided up his possessions. Among the spinning wheels, scythes, tablecloths and cattle that he bequeathed to his far-flung heirs was a 6-year-old slave girl valued soon afterward at $475

Seems like a very valuable asset. What would $475 in 1850 translate to today?

20 posted on 10/07/2009 7:52:39 PM PDT by fso301
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To: fso301

According to an online inflation calculator, $475 in 1850 would be $11703 in 2007 money.

Seems kinda steep, but she was young with a lot of good working years ahead of her.


21 posted on 10/07/2009 7:56:28 PM PDT by cydcharisse
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To: Steelfish

So neither one of them are truly black who’d of thunk?


22 posted on 10/07/2009 8:00:33 PM PDT by guitarplayer1953 (Romak 7.62X54MM, AK47 7.62X39MM, LARGO 9X23MM, HAPINESS IS A WARM GUN BANG BANG YEA YEA)
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To: Steelfish

Wow!

I wonder if the white strains in her backgrond -
is what gives her the Big Bootie?

Nasty stuff, that! Best cover it up with a boob belt!


23 posted on 10/07/2009 8:01:13 PM PDT by aShepard
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To: BARLF

Megan Smolenyak is no writer of fiction. She is one of the most respected genealogists in the world. I can’t imagine that you have really worked for 25 years on family genealogy and have not heard of her. Do a little research and see what you find.


24 posted on 10/07/2009 8:05:24 PM PDT by Ray'sBeth
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To: Steelfish; pandoraou812

I wonder if any of Barack’s ancestors owned any of Michelle’s ancestors? Or on his father’s side may have sold some of her ancestors into slavery.


25 posted on 10/07/2009 8:11:43 PM PDT by TigersEye (Everybody knows it's a spotted dog...)
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To: Steelfish

who cares anyway????


26 posted on 10/07/2009 8:17:57 PM PDT by cubreporter (.)
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To: TigersEye

I bet that she hates that white part. We all have skeletons in our closets IMO.


27 posted on 10/07/2009 9:40:32 PM PDT by pandoraou812 (Don't play leapfrog with a unicorn.....................^........................)
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To: GOPJ
"Rape of black women was common in the South - a shameful part of our heritage."

Sadly, you are absolutely right about that.

28 posted on 10/08/2009 3:09:18 AM PDT by Mila
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To: Steelfish

Michelle Obama got a honkey in her woodpile!


29 posted on 10/08/2009 4:04:56 AM PDT by CodeJockey (If you can read this thank a teacher, if you can read it in English thank a Soldier.)
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To: Steelfish
"I Gots White Blood In Me?? ...For Real?"


30 posted on 10/08/2009 7:39:19 AM PDT by TexasCajun
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To: Steelfish

They are in trouble and pulling out the Slavery Card. Victimhood pays!


31 posted on 10/08/2009 9:19:07 AM PDT by Chickensoup (Angry about where our country is going with the current regime at the helm.)
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To: Steelfish
The Wookie branch of the family tree poses for a group photo:


32 posted on 10/08/2009 9:54:24 AM PDT by twister881
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To: Steelfish

Seems to me a lot of folks here are importing their own fusses into this article.
1. I don’t see anywhere that the article says squat about reparations.

2. The pure reporting seems quite accurate and believable. Lots of folks here and elsewhere have noted the mixture of races in all sorts of contexts.

3. There have always been arricles about the ancestry of our presidents and first ladies — cf Reagan or Kennedy and Ireland.

4. The human interest of Dolphus Shields, as a mixture of slave owner and slave, and yet the most important thing is that, as the article says:

“He was a serious man. He was about business.” We should all be so.

5. Whether we like Michelle or not, her family has indeed prospered per the American dream — brother has also done well (both an MBA in finance and a head basketball coach), etc. Her personal demons or failings, which are many, don’t obscure the basic american story that the article tells.


33 posted on 10/08/2009 10:59:06 AM PDT by BohDaThone
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