(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
Was not Michelle Obama her great-great-great-grandfather’s granddaughter?
The First Family: A New Glimpse of Michelle Obama’s White Ancestors
We knew that the Sunday article about Mrs. Obama’s white ancestors would stir considerable interest so we decided to invite readers to pose questions and make comments. We never imagined that one of those readers would provide us with the first glimpse of two key figures in the first lady’s family tree: The white man who owned Mrs. Obama’s great-great-great grandmother, Melvinia Shields, and his son, who most likely fathered Melvinia’s child.
The photo came from Jarrod Shields, a science teacher at a community college in Alabama who also happens to be the great-great-great grandson of Henry Wells Shields. He was getting ready to mow the lawn when his wife, Tonya, got a call about the article and called him to come inside. Jarrod had grown up knowing that his family had once owned slaves and always wondered what happened to their descendants. His wife sent me an e-mail this week, outlining her husband’s connection to the Shields family, along with the photograph.
When I spoke to Jarrod by phone, he told me that he hoped that he might be able to meet his extended black family, he said of the descendants of the slaves his ancestors had owned. “I always really wanted to say I was sorry.
Why is Jarrod sorry?
“I always really wanted to say I was sorry. I also wanted to let them know that we’re glad that you’re part of our family, however it came about.”
The sentiment is appreciated but why should Jarrod be sorry and Michelle not sorry? Didn’t they both have the same ancestry?
The obvious goodwill and good intentions of Jarrod Shields leave a bitter aftertaste to those who will see instead of only feel.
As long as there is “them” and “us” based only on an insane and uncertain color line, there will continue to be armies of victims like Trayvon Martin on both sides of the line.
The lines extend far beyond the separate and unequal societies to a very lethal effect on scientific medical research as one example.