ancestry. This is something that is celebrated by some, but
disgusting to others. The reason that these revelations draw such
deep concerns is because many of these "relationships" were
involuntary. For hundreds of years, African Americans were forced to
consummate relationships against their will, so the offspring are
difficult to celebrate, even when the school system works so
diligently to erase the suffering of black people from our collective
According to Ancestry.com, Michelle Obama always knew she had white
relatives in her family. But she didn't know the exact nature of these
relationships or the identity of her descendants. Rachel Swarns, a
reporter for the New York times, researched Mrs. Obama's past and
found the whites in her family tree.
Swarns is the author of the book, "American Tapestry: The Story of the
Black, White and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama." In the
book, she details how she went through scores of historical records
and libraries to find the first lady's roots. She eventually
concluded that DNA testing would be necessary to find out what really
Swarns says that she believed that Mrs. Obama is related to the
Shields family who owned her great-great-great grandmother, Melvinia
Shields. She then got the families on both sides to do DNA testing
in order to confirm her suspicions.
She found that she was correct. Melvinia's owner's son is believed
to be the father of Melvinia's bi-racial child, Dolphus. Dolphus is
the great-great grandfather of the first lady.
The families got together in Rex, Georgia to remember Melvinia's life.
The gathering was reflective, since Swarns speculates that the
relationship between the families might not have existed had the first
lady's great-great-great grandmother not been forced to sleep with her