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What does the First Lady legacy bring to Politics?

From Slavery to the White House

Shields grew up a free man and moved to Birmingham, Ala., where he became a carpenter. In 1900, he owned a home and, by 1911, had his own business, establishing himself firmly in the middle class.

"You get the sense, through these documents, he was pulling himself up step by step, into economic stability, which was amazing, considering he was born a slave," Kantor said.

Bobbie Holt, his informally adopted daughter, described Shields as a kind, extremely devote Christian. He and his wife took her in as a sick child, when she was just 2 years old. Holt said Shields never spoke about his past and whether he may have been mixed race, but said he could easily pass for a white man.

"He was very light-skinned, beautiful hair, very fair skinned," Holt told ABC News. "You could almost mistake him for being white."



Asked by Anonymous at 5:46 PM on Oct. 8, 2009 in Politics & Current Events

This question is closed.
Answers (6)
  • If Michele Obama tries to identify herself with the slaves, she is more of an opportunist than I thought. She and BO are the freakin' the walking poster children for the American dream. How many white "from rags to riches" stories are out there and people don't act like something impossible was achieved. They went to Harvard, became lawyers and now live in the WH for heavens sake. How are they oppressed and discriminated against? Descendants of slaves should be offended. He is no more the result of slavery than I am. His mom was white and his dad Kenyan. Neither of them were slaves. Michele has dug and dug to find even the smallest reference to slavery in her family. Now, it is her "badge of honor". Well, they can both kiss my big ole' butt.

    Answer by jesse123456 at 9:24 PM on Oct. 8, 2009

  • "He was very light-skinned, beautiful hair, very fair skinned," Holt told ABC News. "You could almost mistake him for being white."
    One of Shields' sons, Robert Lee, married a seamstress named Annie. They had a son named Purnell, who would move to Chicago, where he worked as a painter. Purnell and his wife had several children, including a daughter named Marion.

    It was Marion who married a man named Fraser Robinson and have two children, including a daughter, Michelle.

    It was this family that went from the slavery of the South to the halls of the White House in an amazing, unique American journey.

    "She [the first lady] has said that there were always these rumors in her family about a white ancestor somewhere, and many African-American families have these kinds of stories, but it's still quite difficult to go this far back," Swarns said. "It's a very familiar story, but it's a very American story."
    Copyright © 2009 ABCNews

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:47 PM on Oct. 8, 2009

  • I have to say, I don't really see where it brings anything to politics.

    Answer by Carpy at 6:54 PM on Oct. 8, 2009

  • Okay, so she is a decendant of an adopted child who was adopted by a slave. I think it plays a role in the social justice scene. I am sure it is what fuels the "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country"

    Answer by Crissy1213 at 6:54 PM on Oct. 8, 2009

  • From slavery to the White House

    How silly, Michelle was never a slave. You have to go back several generations to find one. I am sure a lot of American's can find a slave (not necessarily black) or an indentured servant or someone religously persecuted in their family tree. It doesn't mean WE are special. We cannot carry around the baggage in our family tree. She needs to get the chip off her shoulder and realize she is a success.

    Some first ladies do leave legacies. Abigail Adams was one of them. John depended a great deal on the counsel and opinions of his wife. You should read their letters. She wanted women to have the right to vote and so did he. It was just a very unpopular idea at the time.

    Answer by yourspecialkid at 8:00 PM on Oct. 8, 2009

  • Technically there isn't a slave in her family tree. Her "tree" ends with the "informally adopted daughter." Who knows what her lineage was.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:16 PM on Oct. 8, 2009

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