Skip to comments.In First Lady’s Roots, a Complex Path From Slavery [White Great-Great-Great-GrandDaddy]
Posted on 10/07/2009 7:12:36 PM PDT by Steelfish
In First Ladys 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. Obamas roots were a mystery.
Now the more complete map of Mrs. Obamas 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 ...
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.
My ancestors were enslaved for 700 years. They lived in Spain under the Moors. I want repayment!
I demand reparations from this cracker mook.
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.
Don’t you mean the Moops ?
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?
Note the molestation by the white man.
My ancestors were slaves under Pharoah. Egypt owes me big time.
and islam helped....
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...
I wuz gonna say that. Then I saw the part about poor little Melvinia, and well......you know. /sarc
Doesn't have quite the impact now, does it?
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.
Who says it wasn't consenual miscegenation? There seems to be quite a bit of that still going on -- right, Ms Dunham?
Seems like a very valuable asset. What would $475 in 1850 translate to today?
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.
So neither one of them are truly black who’d of thunk?
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!
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.
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.
who cares anyway????
I bet that she hates that white part. We all have skeletons in our closets IMO.
Sadly, you are absolutely right about that.
Michelle Obama got a honkey in her woodpile!
They are in trouble and pulling out the Slavery Card. Victimhood pays!
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.