Little Known Black History Fact: Michelle Obama

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  • March is Women’s History Month. What better way to kick it off than with first Lady, Michelle Obama. Michelle LaVaughn Obama is the first African-American first lady of the country, and a south-side Chicago native. Raised in a low-income neighborhood in a one-bedroom apartment with her parents and brother, Michelle and her brother Craig slept between a separated bed sheet in the living room as children. A gifted student, both kids were reading by the age of four.

    Among other firsts, Michelle Obama was the first woman and black woman to appear on the cover of Better Homes & Gardens magazine and the premiere first lady as a presenter at the 2013 Oscars.

    She was born Michelle LaVaugh Robinson in Chicago, IL in 1964; coincidentally, the same year of the civil rights act.  Robinson’s father was active in politics, serving as the Democratic precinct captain of the area. Her mother devoted time to raising Michelle and her brother, ensuring that they were extraordinary students. Both kids skipped the second grade and would reach great heights in education.

    Michelle Robinson and her brother Craig, both graduated from Whitney Young Magnet School and attended Princeton University. She graduated in 1985 cum laude and went on to attend Harvard Law School.  While at Harvard, she was a part of a demonstration in protest for more minority professors and students.

    While working for a law firm in Chicago, Michelle Robinson met a young Barack Obama, also a Harvard graduate. The two fell in love and were married in 1992. Interestingly, their first kiss was outside of a shopping center in Chicago where a picture of them kissing now hangs for all to see.

    Michelle Obama became a public servant to the commonwealth of Chicago, working as assistant commissioner of planning and development for the city.

    In 1993, she worked as the Executive Director for the Chicago Office of Public Allies. She held two positions at the University of Chicago starting in 1996 as associate dean of student services then executive director of community relations and external affairs in 2002. It was also during this time frame that the Obamas gave birth to two girls, Sasha and Malia.

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