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NYT: Michelle Obama's roots, a Complex Path From Slavery

 
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richardlang



Joined: 21 Jan 2007
Location: Gangnam

PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 10:55 pm    Post subject: NYT: Michelle Obama's roots, a Complex Path From Slavery Reply with quote

In First Lady’s Roots, a Complex Path From Slavery

WASHINGTON — In 1850, the elderly master of a South Carolina estate took pen in hand and painstakingly divided up his possessions. Among the spinning wheels, scythes, tablecloths and cattle that he bequeathed to his far-flung heirs was a 6-year-old slave girl valued soon afterward at $475.

In his will, she is described simply as the “negro girl Melvinia.” After his death, she was torn away from the people and places she knew and shipped to Georgia. While she was still a teenager, a white man would father her first-born son under circumstances lost in the passage of time.

In the annals of American slavery, this painful story would be utterly unremarkable, save for one reason: This union, consummated some two years before the Civil War, represents the origins of a family line that would extend from rural Georgia, to Birmingham, Ala., to Chicago and, finally, to the White House.

Melvinia Shields, the enslaved and illiterate young girl, and the unknown white man who impregnated her are the great-great-great-grandparents of Michelle Obama, the first lady.

Viewed by many as a powerful symbol of black advancement, Mrs. Obama grew up with only a vague sense of her ancestry, aides and relatives said. During the presidential campaign, the family learned about one paternal great-great-grandfather, a former slave from South Carolina, but the rest of Mrs. Obama’s roots were a mystery.

Now the more complete map of Mrs. Obama’s ancestors — including 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 from bondage to a front-row seat to the presidency..........

The rest of the article at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/08/us/politics/08genealogy.html?_r=1
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djsmnc



Joined: 20 Jan 2003
Location: Dave's ESL Cafe

PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man! And all this time I would never have thought she might have slaves as ancestors...
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ropebreezy



Joined: 27 Aug 2009

PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who cares
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richardlang



Joined: 21 Jan 2007
Location: Gangnam

PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I posted this for those who appreciate history. History is infinitely overdetermined. This article is a good read about how it is such. It doesn't matter your persuasion, political or otherwise.
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Gopher



Joined: 04 Jun 2005

PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Use and abuse of history as politics by other means.
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Triban



Joined: 14 Jul 2009
Location: Suwon Station

PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would not have bought Michelle Obama for $475.

And no, I am not racist.

I just think she sucks.
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proustme



Joined: 13 Jun 2009
Location: Nowon-gu

PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gopher wrote:
Use and abuse of history as politics by other means.


It's news report on her history. It wasn't published by Michelle Obama or the White House. If it were, what you said would be true.
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Gopher



Joined: 04 Jun 2005

PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is the New York Times. Spare me the apolitical disclaimers.
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Julius



Joined: 27 Jul 2006

PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uncle Tom's cabin and Huckleberry Finn were good reads.
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ropebreezy



Joined: 27 Aug 2009

PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

richardlang wrote:
I posted this for those who appreciate history. History is infinitely overdetermined. This article is a good read about how it is such. It doesn't matter your persuasion, political or otherwise.


It's too political of an article to really be of any worth as a truly objective commentary on history.
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proustme



Joined: 13 Jun 2009
Location: Nowon-gu

PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 5:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gopher wrote:
It is the New York Times. Spare me the apolitical disclaimers.


Weak paranoid, glib argument. This article is not political. It's about a Black person's family roots.
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Gopher



Joined: 04 Jun 2005

PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, it is not. It is not about "a Black person's family roots." It is about the sitting first lady, married to a president whose politics this newspaper shares -- and validates and advances in its pages.

Get real.
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kabrams



Joined: 15 Mar 2008
Location: your Dad's house

PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Triban wrote:
I would not have bought Michelle Obama for $475.

And no, I am not racist.

I just think she sucks.


Dude, seriously?

Why not make some Holocaust jokes, while you're at it.
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visitorq



Joined: 11 Jan 2008

PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kabrams wrote:
Triban wrote:
I would not have bought Michelle Obama for $475.

And no, I am not racist.

I just think she sucks.


Dude, seriously?

Why not make some Holocaust jokes, while you're at it.

Who cares.
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Triban



Joined: 14 Jul 2009
Location: Suwon Station

PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2009 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kabrams wrote:
Triban wrote:
I would not have bought Michelle Obama for $475.

And no, I am not racist.

I just think she sucks.


Dude, seriously?

Why not make some Holocaust jokes, while you're at it.


Hmm, why so serious? Like I stated, I think she isn't an awesome person, how is that being racist? To continue...

Holocaust? More like LOLocaust?

(Disclaimer: Sorry if I offended anyone besides kabrams.)
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