Obamarama, The Snob

The First Lady’s Slavery Roots Published In NYT

The New York Times recently published a story about Michelle Obama’s slavery ancestry, chronicling the story of a slave girl named Melvinia who was the mother to Mrs. Obama’s great-great grandfather. The tale is a harrowing, but familiar one of a former black slave giving birth to a “mulatto” child a short time after emancipation.

More after the jump.

From The New York Times:

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 from bondage to a front-row seat to the presidency. The findings — uncovered by Megan Smolenyak, a genealogist, and The New York Times — substantiate what Mrs. Obama has called longstanding family rumors about a white forbear.

While President Obama’s biracial background has drawn considerable attention, his wife’s pedigree, which includes American Indian strands, highlights the complicated history of racial intermingling, sometimes born of violence or coercion, that lingers in the bloodlines of many African-Americans. Mrs. Obama and her family declined to comment for this article, aides said, in part because of the personal nature of the subject.

While it must be odd to have a newspaper do a little family history digging without your input or approval, the article is a fascinating portrait of what is a reality for most Americans, black and white. That many of us our bound by the commonality of the Peculiar Institution. It was so pervasive. So ordinary. So much part of the everyday reality to have people as property that it literally touches all Americans within its reach.

Very few black people know their deeper roots due to the lack of paperwork and most history being oral. Even in my family where there is some photographic evidence of relatives at the turn of the century on both sides, we know very little about how some branches on the family tree got started. From relatives who disappeared and passed for white to those who could have passed and didn’t, but did not like to talk about their origins, a lot of the Robinson-Belton family tree in me is a mystery.

The most I know about my maternal slavery roots comes from an oral history from my grandmother, recalling how her father escaped from a Mississippi plantation with the rest of his family in a covered wagon in the dead of night. He was only a child at the time, but remembered how they wrapped the wagon wheels in sacks so that they wouldn’t make as much noise. Because of that great familial break for it I have routinely joked that my family members must have made truly “horrible” slaves. Even on the Belton side it’s the story of how some Beltons, descendants of the much larger clan of Carolina based black Beltons made it mysteriously all the way to Texas.

I’d love to know more about my roots, if only to gain a better understand of where my family has been and how far we have come. Both my parents have very humble roots — one raised eldest of nine by a pair of sharecroppers who worked their way right out of the fields, the other the middle child of a poor, but ambitious Northern Texas family. My sisters and I benefited greatly from the hard work of generations before us. It’s fascinating to see where their spirit and desire to press on in spite of great obstacles. That’s what attracts me the most.

Because of this I would love to hear your family stories, your oldest family stories if you have any about either the time during slavery or shortly after at the turn of the century. What is your family’s story?

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33 thoughts on “The First Lady’s Slavery Roots Published In NYT

  1. Serenity says:

    All of our families have a story to tell. Not just Alex Haley or Mrs. Obama. And all of it is fascinating for us Black people and embarassing for white people. I wonder how the white folks gonna twist this and blame it on her husband.

  2. divaliscious11 says:

    So I have major issues with this story. First, it is an invasive display of a very private and personal history displayed for the world. Where were the "Roots" stories on Barbara or Laura Bush, or Hilary Clinton for that matter??? Okay to highlight the slave ancestry but perhaps notone that might turn up the massa’s? Secondly, it is the very rare Black family in America that does not have some rape and child molestaion by white slave owners/overseers/random white dude in the community, because it wasn’t considered a crime (although the concept of statutory rape was around, you just had to be considered a person for it to apply – sorry little Black girl), but no matter how far removed, it is very hurtful and painful and to have that hurt on the front page of the NYT is just awful. Although the writers gloss over the abuse "…circumstances lost in the passage of time…" – (its called Rape y’all) or the use of words like union and consummation, which suggest consent, this country was a harsh and brutal place to be a Black woman and while I have no problem with those lessons being taught, I do have a problem using the First Lady as a case study.But I am quite lucky in that we are able to trace our family roots back quite far on my father’s side. That is sort of my job in our family. My cousin was able to make recordings of my grandfather and his siblings before they died in the late 70’s and wrote a pretty detailed history back about 3 generations. As my Grandaddy was born in the very early 1900’s it goes back to the mid 1800’s but I’d like to explore further, but it gets much more difficult then….. We are from a small town in NC, and many of our family members are buried in the church cemetary, so I take the young kids out back after church and show them the headstones and the family tree, but its very private…I didn’t take my husband until after we were married…there is pride, but also hurt, because some of the stories about how people died are quite painful…..

  3. Jaddadalos says:

    Just a comment on how "shocking" this seems to be to media outlets and other who participate in public "discourse". I watched The Today Show cover this story and, sadly, yet unsurprisingly, there was a level of incredulity at the idea that 1) Michelle Obama "didn’t know" (do we know that she didn’t know?) about her roots, 2) That there is a white ancestor (the offspring of whom they did not hesitate to call "Black", unlike their confusion with the president identifying as Black), and 3) that the great-great-great grandmother in question, "was treated like a piece of property". It’s as if the perspective has been the one that promotes the euphemism of slavery as "a peculiar institution", and therefore wasn’t that bad and the effects of it are not as serious as "some" make it out to be.The whole focus is to glorify America as a "progressing" nation to the point where someone who is only a few generations removed from that peculiar institution is now a resident of the White House (it was acknowledged in passing that the White House was built by slaves and the resident they pointed to was Michelle’s mother). It’s frustrating because the admonition seems to be, "How could you not know your family history?" as if descendants of slaves have the benefit of Ellis or Angel Islands. I’m just tired of the "waving off" of the horrors of slavery, the effects this institution and subsequent legal means of marginalization, and the insidious effects of racism. All is being sanitized and spun in order to say how much better America is…therefore stop talking about it and throwing it in our collective faces.On the "know your history" tip, yes, it is beneficial and encouraging to know and be inspired by your past. It’s a problem that some of my students don’t even know where their grandparents were born (many not in Philadelphia). This exploration needs to be encouraged. I just wish someone would also take it upon themselves to dig into the past of other prominent politicians and see where they fit into this American tapestry… How many corporations and independently wealthy folks are still living off generations of cotton/tobacco/sugar cane money? Just wondering…

  4. France says:

    I found this article and your story to be fascinating! Mrs O is only about 3-4 generation removed from slavery. As a Haitian-American, I dont have any stories of enslaved ancestors to tell that are as immediate as these. Haiti has been free for over 200 yrs, slavery is treated like a terrible, distant struggle that our forefathers fought and overcame. I also found it interesting that the article focused so much on Mrs. O’s biracial ancestor, as if white roots are somehow unique and exceptional in the African diaspora…

  5. thelady says:

    I agree with Jaddadalos, there is a constant focus on minimizing the violent dehumanizing nature of slavery. The rapes, the violence, the breaking up of families, the perversion, the medical experiments, making it illegal to read are completely ignored in textbooks as well as main stream media. I find this article highly invasive as it does not appear they had the Robinson’s permission.

  6. Marquetta says:

    What was the point in the NYT publishing this article? Did they ask for Michelle Obama’s permission to research her family tree and put it out there for the world to see? Typical media – it’s okay to put "our" business out in the streets for everyone to see no matter how painful it could be. Nice going NYT. I’m sure you considered this a coup.

  7. Scipio Africanus says:

    Mother’s side is from Virginia, father’s side is from Georgia. The former was never really part of any of the Great Migration(s) – they mostly moved to DC within the last 50 years, so not really a part of that group. The latter is definitely part of the GM – they came to Philly around World War I. That side has been gone so long we don’t know anyone in Georgia at all anymore, and haven’t for probably 60+ years, at the very least. Father’s side was just about all poor with minimal education, and entered the blue collar world for negroes in Philly, upon arriveal, making a decent Black working/lower middle class life for themselves by the 50’s adn 60’s.Mom’s side was half sharecroppers, half Virginia Black gentry (like a faux-Whitley Gilbert kind of thing.) My maternal grandmother has names of each of her matriarchs (her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother) going back to 1830. My maternal grandfather has a really good and extensive geneaology that reaches back to the late 1700’s. There were a fair amount of free people in that group (pun intended.)My paternal grandmother’s side has a really good account of who the various parents were, though no real geneology has been put together. My father didn’t know his own father, so I don’t know anything about him – not even a name.But like we’re talking about here, it’s the same deal as with most of us – a white great-great-grandparent here and there on all sides: some were supposedly through loving relationships, some were run of the mill plantation rape. Interestingly, only one small branch of my family, on either side, even claims any Indian blood, adn I think that’s just because my great-grandmother "looked" Indian. Personally I’m skeptical, but it’s possible.

  8. snobfanforeal' says:

    Shocking and Invasive? Really? I’m not sure why the outrage is bubbling up in the comments. The entire campaign cannon of the present-day civil rights movement is focused on exposing the tangible, present day effects (and rather short-time line) by which slavery’s legacy hovers over African-American’s. How is this article not in line with that effort? Granted, I can’t imagine Michelle wants her business in the street like this. But I it helps everyone in this country to fully appreciate the length and scope of or nation’s original sin; a transgression that extends, officially now, to our highest office in the land. Somewhere, William Faulkner is smiling.

  9. Scipio Africanus says:

    I disagree with the idea that this is private and that they needed to ask her permission. These are public records; she’s the first lady, which means that public information about her is totally up for scrutiny; and looking into the past of former first ladies is very, very common. Someone mentioned Barbara Bush – she’s related to Franklin Pierce (her maiden name is Pierce) adn I remember knowing about that 20 years ago when I was 10. Every president has at least a handful of volumes in any good library about his life and heritage, as well as his wife’s.

  10. Jaddadalos says:

    Snobranforreal’ said: "But I [think] it helps everyone in this country to fully appreciate the length and scope of or nation’s original sin"And that’s just the thing. I don’t think that’s the goal. Understanding has not been a preoccupation at all. It’s just another American story to tell without consequences or interconnectedness to situations today. I’m not one of those folk who likes to "blame everything on slavery" when it comes to my community. I am a huge fan of history and the current sociological (list your disciplines here as well…) affects that all the madness that treating an entire group of people (in word, deed, law, tradition, etc.) inhumanely (funny we apply that to animals these days) has brought. I’m about consequences as well as motivations and in examining the history of Africans in the Americas, you can’t sugar coat stuff and think that we can have tea and crumpets over a discussion of my legally mutilated great great grandfather, or my teargassed mother – both of whom just wanted to live their lives and have their humanity acknowledged.In all, I just don’t appreciate the unquestioned tone and direction of the public conversations in this country. A dominant culture is exactly that – their priorities, their stories, their perspectives are normalized and what makes them uncomfortable will not be the focus for too long. The story of Michelle Obama’s ancestors will be contextualized in a way that benefits those with power. This is not breaking new ground or ushering in a deeper conversation. It’s a celebration of all the progress "we" have made and an opportunity to juxtapose the slave-built White House with the current residents of that same house.@ Scipio AfricanusI hesitate to frame this in a way that equates the history, experience, and access of Barbara Bush with that of the Obamas. Yes, public records, but this is not in the vein of the fun, trivia knowledge type excavations that reporters have previously done on prominent figures. The reason why there are volumes "in any good library" about the life and heritage of former presidents and their wives is because the family/blood-line of the WASP was not threatened by an institution that dehumanized their existence or scattered their kin from sea to shining sea. This equating of experiences happens often and does not, in my opinion, help flush out the issues or grasp the big picture of the history of Black people in the Americas.

  11. Scipio Africanus says:

    Jaddadalos, To me, this article does anything but equate experiences between the Obamas and past first couples. In fact, it seems to do the opposite – it highlights how vastly different theirs are.The question from what you’re saying is this: should the information of her background not have been reported at all? Should it have been reported by someone else? Should it have been repoprted a different way? I just don’t see what teh violation is here. It seems to me that some folks probably are uncomfortable with the facts of her (our) heritage, more than anything else, adn that’s a shame.

  12. divaliscious11 says:

    I don’t think its a question of shame or embarassment at all. If, in fact, she didn’t know, and we have no real way of knowing this one way or the other as she hasn’t commented on this, this isn’t the kind of personal information one typically wants on display for the world to see before having time to process and likely more importantly, explain to her girls. they don’t strike me in the least as a family that sugar coats reality, instead they appear to explain and teach. My guess is their oldest is probably at an age to understand this but not the youngest, which is more the pity because she is already older than the ancestor passed down…. Scipio…knowing that Barbara Bush is related to Franklin Pierce (according to wiki he and her great great grandfather were fourth cousins), is vastly different than a slave ancestor, passed down to an heirat age 6, valued at $450, and then subsequently raped as a young child etc… not even close….

  13. Jaddadalos says:

    @ Scipio AfricanusOk. I think it should have been reported. By someone else? Eh. Probably. But my issue is not with the information or who authorized it or whatever. It’s the superficial use of this information and my bottomed-out expectation that this will be anything more than a heartwarming piece to stroke American egos about progress – just to bring home how AWESOME we are for electing a Negro and inheriting his slave-descended Negro wife. I am even (cynically) bracing myself for a spin that could generalize this "I don’t know where I come from" idea to all Black people, prompting news specials, claims of a newly invigorated search for lost ancestors, a re-airing of Skip Gate’s special on PBS. Black in America Part 3, anyone? So again, it’s the usage of the information and how, with the inequality of experience between pieces written on past relatives of heads of state, the conversation will most likely be treated as if the differences are benign. No ushering in of that conversation we are supposedly now able to have because we’re not cowards…But I agree with you that anyone who describes this as "airing dirty laundry" needs to examine that closely. Shame is all in and through those sentiments and it’s a silencing thing that just perpetuates ignorance and lack of self-worth.

  14. Scipio Africanus says:

    divaliscious11 , My point with the Barbara Bush reference, though I didn’t state it, was that her ancestry is known and has been memorialized. I wasn’t saying it was the same exact history. Just that The President and his family’s history is always a subject of public record. It just so happens that this is teh first First Lady who’s ancestors come from the business end of chains, whips, and rape and alot of Us are having a hard time with even talking about it in detail, apparently.

  15. Scipio Africanus says:

    Jaddadalos, I hear your concerns and they make alot of sense to me. But those folks will try to do that to us any number of ways, not just with this.

  16. divaliscious11 says:

    Scipio- I guess I take more issue with using the First Lady as a case study versus a legitimate discussion of the horrors of slavery and down stream implications. I don’t have a problem with the conversation – I think it is needed, and was raised to own that knowledg and to teach both the tragedy and the triumph to my own family etc… It just feels very Hottentot Venus to me…

  17. dkan71 says:

    I read the article and I thought it was fascinating and loved that it put a human face on the incredibly de-humanizing practices of slavery and its legacy. I think the people saying that it’s an invasion of her privacy to have done the research without asking her permission are well-intentioned, but completely misguided. She’s a public figure and even if she weren’t, her genealogical records aren’t a private matter. Most of the information they found is in the public domain. Census records have to be sealed for 72 years, but after that they’re available for public research. Given the disruptive nature of slavery, so few black people know about their family tree more than a few generations back. I’d say it’s more of a service than a disservice to her and her family that this historical narrative has been provided.

  18. The N.Y. Times has exhibited a certain ownership of Michelle’s ancestry by doing this without her permission which is very ironic considering that same feeling of ownership was exactly what slavery was all about.

  19. B.Y. says:

    Family names Mitchell and Cheeks from South Carolina and Rawl and Bauser from D.C. and Baltimore.Only relative that may be of interest to the NYT is Bauser, my maternal grandmother’s father, who was a Baltimore golf pro in the 1900s and was the son of a German immigrant.Other than that, slaves, then share croppers, then washer women, then soldiers and longshoremen, then college grads, mailmen, dental hygienists and Federal Gov’t employees.I’m sure there was a rape or two in there somewhere since my mother was born a red head with freckles, but there’s no written history.

  20. snobfanforeal' says:

    @ Jaddalous You wrote :"I’m about consequences as well as motivations ….. you can’t sugar coat stuff and think that we can have tea and crumpets over a discussion of my legally mutilated great great grandfather, or my teargassed mother – both of whom just wanted to live their lives and have their humanity acknowledged."The purpose of the Times piece lives, I believe, in that last concept you just mentioned: Michelle’s humanity.Perhaps you forget how very much that was in question until her speech at the Democratic National Convention last year. Several GOP house members (and more than a few National Review editors) made it plain how much, in their minds, she hated this country with every fiber of her being. Juan Williams made her out to be a radical race bater in heels. The New Yorker saw little of the Ivy league graduate in her person and slapped an illustration on their cover that the folks over at Human Events would have even passed on. And now, it’s not just her humanity that’s no longer a question, it’s her claim to a particular kind of American history: she is, like so many of us, a child born of its greatest sin. Or, what our last Secretary of State called called our nation’s ‘birth defect’. Not that one NY Times piece calms those waters, but it shines a light on how insipid those absurd claims were then and are now. My only fault with the article is that, upon reflection, black women throughout this country don’t get to have the nation’s paper of record proclaim their uniqueness on its front page everyday. My mind boggles on the positive impact it would have on our sisters, daughters, wives and girlfriends if it did.

  21. Jaddadalos says:

    @ Snobfanforeal’The attacks on Mrs. Obama were and are very clear to me. But I don’t think the purpose of this piece is to support Michelle in her humanity. Seriously, more focus was placed on the white ancestor (shocker!) and "How far we’ve come" as stated at the end of the piece. You give the Times a lot of credit in extracting that particular purpose from the piece. It’s exploration. It’s intriguing. It’s controversial. And when the "moral of the story" needs to be drawn, it won’t be, "Well damn. Maybe we should really talk about these human connections within our history and how these interactions have shaped, negatively and positively, our collective identity…" No. They’re gonna say. "Hot dayum! We don’t got slaves no more, a Black man is in the White House, and Oprah is in her 24th season. We. Are. AWESOME."That was my only point. I guess pretty obvious in terms of what we can expect from our media and officials, but for me a reminder that a collective eye roll is needed toward those who continue to shout down truth. We are still hurting as a people and we need to focus. Eff the dumb and distracting and non-helpful ish. At the very least, use the story to spark an interest in young Black women, as you say. Otherwise, I can’t go on a swooning binge every time some corporate entity gives a nod to my culture – something is lurking underneath (You hear that, McDonalds???).

  22. Khrish says:

    There is something about this story that strikes me as "SHE CAN’T BE ALL BLACK" so let’s trace her roots. Oh! we did find the white ancestor which explains why SHE’S SO SMART, SO INTELLIGENT, SO BEAUTIFUL AND SPEAKS SO WELL. I maybe wrong but that’s just the way it seems to me. We all know that in this mixed up country that if we go far enough back we will find one in the family. And then that was all they consentrated on was the one white man that they found. I resented all the hoopla for that reason. She is a big deal to me without having to read that.

  23. Three Rivers says:

    So, now that she has a white ancestor will this make her easier to swallow by white folks? The whole thing makes me ill.

  24. snobfanforeal' says:

    Again @ JaddalousYou wrote :"…maybe we should really talk about these human connections within our history and how these interactions have shaped, negatively and positively, our collective identity…"But isn’t that the very subtext of the piece? To actively and irrefutably place America’s history of slavery and discrimination squarely in the face of anyone who might try to deny it? My assumption is that’s more in line with what the authors intended than crafting a hit piece or some limp attempt to contrast her mannerisms with other black American’s. And lastly, I can totally understand not wanting to see the immediate cultural advantage of rummaging through the first lady’s family background (and there are many) , but what about the historical ones? Is there any value in your opinion for that?

  25. Aabaakawad says:

    Danielle wrote, "… the article is a fascinating portrait of what is a reality for most Americans, black and white. That many of us our bound by the commonality of the Peculiar Institution. It was so pervasive. So ordinary. So much part of the everyday reality to have people as property that it literally touches all Americans within its reach."And she has asked, "What is your family’s story?"I could (reverse?) pass as mixed with my my broad nose, dark-for-a-white-guy complexion, and body-galore curly hair (even at 50). But my ancestry is well documented, and either the African diaspora is not there, or edited out. No Mediterranean or Jewish ancestry either, so the curls are a mystery. My matriarchal line is full Ojibwe, 5 generations back, so my mitochondria have been here, right where I live, for over 10,000 years.97% euro with no slaveholder ancestry, or any white roots deeper than early-mid 19th century, but as Danielle says about the peculiar institution, it touches all Americans within its reach. Even new immigrants in my opinion.It’s the long ragged unhealed scar that permeates and defines American history and character. An obscene elephant in the room that invalidates our pretensions of liberty-sourced moral specialness, American exceptionalism, God’s chosen country. PUH-LEEZE!I am doing what I can to nudge my fellow white citizens to understand this context, but most of them aren’t very reflective. They like to think blacks "had a hard time but its over" when really we are talking about generations of absolute soul-destroying family-crushing hell that’s still sloshing its evil energy through lives of blacks. They can’t seem to wrap their minds around that. But I do not confront; it doesn’t work.The NYT article, with it’s "we’re OK" vibe, can be unsatisfying to the historically literate. But, as I have learned painfully, enlightening your typical majority citizen, who has no inclination for examining their assumptions, is only possibly accomplished by presenting nonthreatening baby steps of perceptual adjustment for them to consider, rinse and repeat, until they have their delicate aha moment so they can achieve a minor bit of enlightenment. Then laborously build towards the next bit. I’ve been working on my parents for years, and they have slowly come quite far.The NYT article, solicitous as it is, is just another of the hundreds of perceptual adjustment pieces that will be needed to move some majority citizens toward an enlightened state. As much as they deserve to be confronted with the real deal, it doesn’t work. It just causes them to throw up their mental defenses. They quite literally can’t handle the truth, all at once.Have patience, not because they deserve it, but because that is what can potentially work.Wishing you all progress..

  26. Jaddadalos says:

    @ Snobfanforeal’You wrote: " But isn’t that the very subtext of the piece? To actively and irrefutably place America’s history of slavery and discrimination squarely in the face of anyone who might try to deny it? My assumption is that’s more in line with what the authors intended than crafting a hit piece or some limp attempt to contrast her mannerisms with other black American’s."No. I don’t think that’s the subtext of this piece. First off, I don’t think people are denying the existence of slavery in America. I don’t even think they would deny that overall it was a horrible thing. I don’t think this is the NYT bringing "new news" to the masses. That slavery existed in the States is undeniable. This is not like Ahmadinejad being a Holocaust denier. Perhaps some of the details given may affect people, but how thorough could the descriptions of the horrors of slavery be in a 2 page piece that is focused more on genealogy than the institution itself? What leads you to the assumption that this 2 page piece has the goal of "sticking it to" the people who would deny the U.S. history of slavery? Would that mean that there will be a continued effort to educate or a broader conversation about this? If so, wouldn’t that mean a discussion on the effects of the institution on all those involved? I would think so if this were truly the type of effort that you assumed.I think this was neither an attempt at a hit piece nor was it a comparison on her mannerisms vs. those that have been cast as stereotypically Black American. What I do maintain is that it is a piece of intrigue and a celebration of how far the U.S. has come. That last point is what I believe the subtext to be. I gather that because of the language used, such as "At a time when" as they describe the blatant discrimination and marginalization experienced by Black Americans, as if this time has completely passed and traces of this type of discrimination no longer exist. I also see it in the end of the piece when the lingering quote is, "Praise God, we’ve come a long way." That is the feeling the reader is supposed to be left with. The portion of my statement that you pointed out is not just about this history for Black Americans affected, but the overall affects and consequences for the entire nation. This piece does not aim to do that.Finally, I’m not sure I grasp your meaning of "not wanting to see the cultural advantages" of this exploration. I distinctly said that this exploration can be used as encouragement for young Black people. I don’t think I ever said there was no historical advantage to finding all this information out about the First Lady either. I actually believe that it is a worth-while endeavor for all of "Us" to have this knowledge. Again, my disagreement is with what you see as the underlying meaning that will be drawn from this piece, as well as the use of this knowledge in the public sphere – not to encourage the nation to wholly confront our past, but to pat ourselves on the back for how far we’ve come.(sorry for the length)

  27. Mother’s side – my great-grands left Barbados for Panama to help build the Canal. They stayed for good. Their parents were slaves in Barbados. Still trying to learn more.Father’s side – Nana and Grandpa were from the South, i.e. Florida & Georgia & Alabama. Of course our descendants were slaves. He told me that some of our descendants attended Tuskegee and were geniuses. Still trying to learn more.

  28. circa1806 says:

    What was published by the New York Times is conformation about American history. One place where we know stories like Mrs. Obama’s very well is Afrigeneas. Afrigeneas is a group of genealogist nationwide dedicated to tying up as many loose ends as possible. If you want to know how to get past "brick walls" in African American genealogy and family history in the United States, this is the place to start. You never know, one of your cousins might already be in this forum searching for you? http://www.afrigeneas.comP.S. I tried to use html but it didn’t work.

  29. lyric says:

    I’m wondering why Megan Smolenyak chose to focus solely on Melvinia’s line at the expense of Michelle Obama’s other great-great-great-grandparents. Michelle Obama is also descended from a free man of color. I would have been interested in hearing that story as well.

  30. Not an idiot says:

    People actually believe this nonsense.This is nothing more than whites telling lies that every black person who is whatever "they deem as successful, good looking or anything else they deem as a positive" as being white. This is nothing more than white fantasy and nothing more. 99.999% of black women produced children with black men. Its true today and it was quadruply true back in the 1800s.And you ought to be glad that is/was the case, because you would be in your 20s and looking older than you really are and wrinkly the way whites do.

  31. Not an idiot says:

    The above should be claim as being mixed with white. In order to say they are the reason for an African Americans success, looks, other positive.You notice these people don’t make up fantasies about African Americans who are serving time in prison. That’s because there is no self-esteem in it for them.These people are trying to use the AA ethnic group to boost their low self-esteem and their sick and depraved sense of vanity.Why you people continue to listen to their lies is beyond comprehension.

  32. Jamie McBride says:

    To Whom It May Concern:I feel it was a great milestone to see some pertinent information regarding slave roots traced so that more people can find out what happened to family members. In the case of our First lady Michelle Obama, I would venture to say that both she and the President of the United States most likely have some link to the Holy Mssai people of Kenya given to their size and nature. the problem with articles regarding slave roots is that they seldom go back far enough. While this is merely a hypothesis at this point, I have done quite a bit of research into these types of areas and for certain miocondrial DNA would be useful as it was to HRH Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip who discovered his relation to the Russian Imperial Family who was so unfortunately assasinated.Thank you for your time.Jamie McBride

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