Yesterday I read an in-depth article in The New York Times about the First Lady and her ancestry. The newly discovered story of Mrs. Obama’s maternal ancestors—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.
The findings were uncovered by Megan Smolenyak, a genealogist and The New York Times. The outlines of Mrs. Obama’s family history were unfolded with 19th century probate records, yellowing marriage licenses, fading photographs and the recollections of elderly women who remember the family.
These findings are not necessarily news to most of us who know the history of slavery in this country, but it is a reminder of how far America has come.