Women’s History Month

The Savannah Tribune Salutes Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama is the 44th first lady of the United States and wife of U.S. President Barack Obama. She is the first African American First Lady. Prior to her role as first lady, she was a lawyer, Chicago city administrator and community outreach worker.

Michelle Obama was born Michelle La- Vaughn Robinson on January 17, 1964, in Chicago, Illinois. Michelle was raised in a small bungalow on Chicago’s South Side. Her father, Fraser Robinson, was a city-pump operator and a Democratic precinct captain. Her mother, Marian, was a secretary at Spiegel’s but later stayed home to raise Michelle and her older brother, Craig. They were a close-knit family, typically sharing meals, reading and playing games

She attended Princeton University, graduating cumlaude in 1985, and went on to earn a degree from Harvard Law School in 1988. Following her graduation from Harvard, she worked at a Chicago law firm, where she met her husband, future U.S. President Barack Obama. The couple married on October 3, 1992.

In 2007, Michelle scaled back her own professional work to attend to family and campaign obligations during Barack’s run for the Democratic presidential nomination. When they were out on the trail, they would leave their daughters with their grandmother Marian, Michelle’s mother. Barack Obama eventually won the nomination and was elected the 44th President of the United States. He was sworn in on January 20, 2009.

As first lady, she has focused her attention on current social issues, such as poverty, healthy living and education.

She also focused her attention on issues such as the support of military families, helping working women balance career and family and encouraging national service. During the first year of the Obama presidency, Michelle and her husband volunteered at homeless shelters and soup kitchens in the Washington D.C. area. Michelle also has made appearances at public schools, stressing the importance of education and volunteer work. Ever conscious of her family’s diet and health, Michelle Obama has supported the organic-food movement, instructing the White House kitchens to prepare organic food for guests and her family. In March 2009, Michelle worked with 23 fifth graders from a local school in Washington D.C. to plant an 1,100-square-foot garden of fresh vegetables and install beehives on the South Lawn of the White House. Since 2010, Michelle has put efforts to fight childhood obesity near the top of her agenda.

Michelle Obama remains committed to her health-and-wellness causes. In 2012, she announced a new fitness program for kids, as part of her Let’s Move initiative. Along with the U.S. Olympic team and other sports organizations, she has worked to get young people to try out a new sport or activity. “This year, 1.7 million young people will be participating in Olympic and Paralympic sports in their communities—many of them for the very first time. And that is so important, because sometimes all it takes is that first lesson, or clinic, or class to get a child excited about a new sport,” Obama said in a statement.

Putting her message in print, Obama released a book as part of her mission to promote healthy eating. American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America (2012) explores Obama’s own experience creating a vegetable garden as well as the work of community gardens elsewhere.

She told Reuters that sees the book as an opportunity to help readers understand “where their food was coming from” and “to talk about the work that we’re doing with childhood obesity and childhood health.”


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