Bigots Wept: Michelle Obama Has White Ancestors!

Does that mean all those people who had wretched things to say will take them back? Of course not, but it was worth a try...


One of Michelle Obama's great-great-great grandparents is an unknown white man who impregnated Melvinia Shields, her great-great-great grandmother, a few years before the Civil War. According to the New York Times, this history was unkown to the First Lady as she and her husband made their way to the White House in 2008, but now the research has been completed and there's a more clear understanding of how her family made it from shackles to the heights of power.

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.

“She is representative of how we have evolved and who we are,” said Edward Ball, a historian who discovered that he had black relatives, the descendants of his white slave-owning ancestors, when he researched his memoir, “Slaves in the Family.”

For those with any sense, the history and reality of intermingling bloodlines in the United States is nothing particularly new. The question the Times posed is: Why has it taken so long for Americans to accept this fact?

Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Annette Gordon-Reed, and Mary Francis Berry approach this issue. All, in some part, address the imbalance of power, sexual abuse, guilt and shame--stemming from what miscegenation represents to people bent on classifications and racial purity--as reasons this senstive topic is so slow to become part of the discourse.