Women Michelle Obama Photo By Chuck Kennedy

Published on July 14th, 2009 | by Yellow Magpie

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Michelle Obama: First Lady Of The United States

Michelle Obama Photo By Chuck Kennedy

Michelle La Vaughn Robinson Obama has become one of the most famous women on the planet. Instantly recognisable as the wife of the first African American President of the United States, Michelle was well established even before she met Barack Obama.


Michelle Obama Photo By Joyce N. Boghosian

Michelle Obama Photo By Joyce N. Boghosian

Early Childhood Growing Up

Born in Chicago, Illinois, on January, 1964, she was raised in the South Side of Chicago, in a one bedroom, apartment, her father, Fraiser, worked as a city pump operator, and was also a Democratic precinct captain. Her mother Marian, was a Spiegel’s secretary. However, she later stayed at home to raise Michelle and her older brother Craig.

Despite their humble beginnings, Michelle and her brother Craig, who is now an Ivy League basketball coach at Brown University, were both raised to believe that whatever prejudices they might encounter in their lives, they were capable of achieving great things.

Craig Robinson 2008

Craig Robinson 2008

Education And Debate

In the Robinson home, there was always a strong emphasis on learning and debate, with both Craig and Michelle, learning how to read before they started school. Both brother and sister, skipped second grade in school.

Michelle, excelled in school, and by sixth grade, she was attending gifted classes, before going on to Chicago’s first Whitney M. Young Magnet High School for gifted children.

When she completed high school, Michelle, was accepted to Princeton University, where she graduated with an honours BA in Sociology, in 1985. The scarcity of black students at Princeton, made Michelle Obama, intensely conscious of the issues of race.

Michelle Obama’s Law Career

On graduating from Princeton, Michelle, entered Harvard Law, where she again excelled. On graduating from Harvard, she joined the law firm of Sidley Austin, where she specialised in marketing and intellectual property. It was here that she was to meet Barack Obama.

Michelle Obama With Barack In 2008 Photo by Matthias Kotter Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence

Michelle Obama With Barack In 2008 Photo by Matthias Kotter Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence

Obama had come to work as an intern for the summer of 1988,  Michelle, was assigned as his mentor. Michelle, initially rejected the advances of Barack Obama.  However, love prevailed, and in 1992, the couple married. Unfortunately, her father didn’t get to see his daughter  marry Barack Obama, as he had died a year earlier.

New Direction

The death of her father, was the catalyst for Michelle Obama, to take a new direction in life, and she left corporate law and began to work in the public sector.

Her first job was to serve as an assistant to the Mayor of Chicago, Richard Daly. In 1993, she became Executive Director for the Chicago Office of Public Allies, where she worked for four years. During that time, she encouraged  young  people to work on social issues.

Michelle Obama With Barack And Queen Elizabeth II

Michelle Obama With Barack And Queen Elizabeth II

Michelle and Barack Obama’s first child Malia Ann Obama, was born in 1999, their second child Natasha, or Sasha as she is better known, was born in 2001.

2008 Presidential Election

When her husband was running for the Presidency, Michelle cut down her work load by 80% in order to support his campaign. She became heavily involved in his battle to win the Presidency, writing her own speeches, and appearing on several platforms with Oprah Winfrey.

Michelle Obama With Barack And Oprah Winfry Photo By Luke Vargas Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence

Michelle Obama With Barack And Oprah Winfry Photo By Luke Vargas Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence

Since she became First Lady, Michelle Obama, has visited, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and cancer wards. She is also a strong advocate of the Organic food movement, and has planted an organic garden in the White House along with installing Bee Hives.

Furthermore she has become an avid promoter of her husband’s political policies by supporting bills that promote them. Michelle is also seen as a role model for women everywhere. In addition she has become somewhat of a style icon, and has been compared with the late Jackie Onassis.

Under Utilised Potential

However, many believe that Michelle Obama is not living up to her true potential and wonder is she truly happy to be in the shadow of a man who was once her intern. Before she gave up her career to concentrate on her husband’s campaign, she was earning $300,000 a year as the Director of Community Relations at Chicago Hospital.

Michelle Obama With Carla Bruni-Sarkozy Photo By Chuck Kennedy

Michelle Obama With Carla Bruni-Sarkozy Photo By Chuck Kennedy

There were high hopes that when Barack Obama became U.S. President she would take the opportunity to use her influence in powerful ways especially in the area of racial divide. Instead, she seems content to promote healthy eating even though she doesn’t cook or garden herself and has become more of a yummy mummy than a powerful voice for change.

Recently the White House was called on to deny that she told Carla Bruni-Sarkozy that her new life is ”hell” and she ”can’t stand it”.

But no matter what the truth, Michelle Obama is extremely popular with an approval rating of 45%. She will be an interesting woman to watch as the Obama Presidency unfolds. How long can a woman of her intelligence take a back seat without at least some outlet for her sharp intellect?


Further Reading

Check out Yellow Magpie’s Barack Obama: New Leader Filling The Void and Oprah Winfrey: The Most Popular Woman Of Today for further insight into her husband and Oprah Winfrey.

While there are no definitive biographies out on Michelle Obama as of yet, there are some interesting reads. Michelle: A Biography is one of the better biographies currently available. However, it is marred slightly by the fact that Michelle Obama’s close friends and acquaintances did not contribute to the book thus depriving the reader of how they see her.

Go, Tell Michelle: African Women Write to the New First Lady is an excellent and unusual book in which 100 women of African or African-American backgrounds write letters to Michelle Obama about their own experiences of racism and troubles.

Amazon.co.uk
For people living in Ireland or the United Kingdom, you can access Michelle: A Biography and Go, Tell Michelle: African Women Write to the New First Lady here.

Amazon.ca
For those who live in Canada, you can obtain Michelle: A Biography and Go, Tell Michelle: African Women Write to the New First Lady from here.

Amazon.de
For Germany: Michelle: A Biography and Go, Tell Michelle: African Women Write to the New First Lady.

Amazon.fr
For France: Michelle: A Biography and Go, Tell Michelle: African Women Write to the New First Lady.


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