Happy Birthday to our First Lady

Michelle Obama official portraitMichelle Obama, born Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, was born on this date in 1964. While her one of her  biggest claim would arguably be her becoming the first African-American First Lady of the United States, there is much more to Mrs. Obama’s life before and after she became First Lady.

Obama was born to Fraser Robinson and Marian Shields, both of whom can trace their family roots back prior to the Civil War before the abolition of slavery, specifically the Gullah people in South Carolina’s Lowcountry region. Eventually, her great-grandfather Fraser Robinson Jr, and her maternal great-grandparents would leave South Carolina and move to Chicago.

Upon growing up within a “traditional” family, where her father worked and her mother stayed home to raise her two children, Obama would go on to study sociology and African-American studies at Princeton University. She then continued on to Harvard Law School. After graduating in 1988, she accepted a position at the Chicago law firm Sidley & Austin where she not only found career success but her future husband Barack Obama.

After a few years, she decided her true calling was to work with the public. In 1991, she became the Assistant Commissioner of Planning and Development for Chicago. In 1993, she became the Executive Director for the Chicago of Public Allies, an AmeriCorps program that prepares youth for public service. In 1996, she joined the University of Chicago as the Associate Dean of Student Services, where she developed the university’s first community service program.

Upon becoming the First Lady, Obama has continued with her public works, championing the many issues close to her heart including supporting military families, helping working women balance career and family, encouraging national service, promoting the arts and arts education, and fostering healthy eating and healthy living for children and families throughout the nation. Her most recent campaigns have been “Let’s Move” started in 2010 as an effort to combat the epidemic of childhood obesity; and “Joining Forces,” a joint campaign with Dr. Jill Biden to assist service members and their families with their unique needs with employment, education and wellness.

First Lady Obama’s commitment to hard work and her causes can be seen in not just her status as First Lady, but her ranking as one of three First Ladies to have a post-graduate degree. In addition, her planting of an organic vegetable garden, something that has not been done since Eleanor Roosevelt was First Lady, is a testament to her commitment to healthy living and healthy eating.

-V Jones

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