90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Michelle Obama's Genealogy

Michelle Obama

For most of us, family history is a kitchen table conversation. Personal. Private. And sometimes just a mystery.

When you’re First Lady — and the first African-American First Lady in the White House — it’s different.

Last week — page one, New York Times — new research on Michelle Obama’s family tree was laid out for the world, and for her.

A great, great, great grandmother traded away at six as a slave. A white father to that slave’s children, Michelle Obama’s family line.

This hour, On Point: Michelle Obama’s family tree, and the story it tells about our history, our country. 

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Guests:

Joining us from Philadelphia is Megan Smolenyak, a genealogist who worked with The New York Times to investigate Michelle Obama’s family tree. The result was the recent article, “In First Lady’s Roots, a Complex Path From Slavery.” She is also president of RootsTelevision.com and author of several books, including “Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree.”

From Washington we’re joined by Edna Greene Medford, professor of history at Howard University and an expert in 19th-century African-American history. She’s co-author of “The Emancipation Proclamation: Three Views.”

Also from Washington we’re joined by Sam Sanders. He’s an NPR Kroc Fellow, a program for aspiring public radio journalists, and a former intern for On Point. He blogs at “The Not So Angry Black Man.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 22, 2014
Health workers carry the body of a woman suspected of contracting the Ebola virus in Bomi county situated on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. (AP)

We’ll go to Liberia, and hear from a pastor and a physician at the epicenter of the Ebola crisis.

Oct 22, 2014
Authors Nicholas Kristof and wife Sheryl WuDunn attend the premiere of "Meena" at the AMC Loews Theater on Thursday, June 26, 2014 in New York.

Author and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof says regular folks like us can change the world. He explains how. Plus: we remember the late, great Washington Post editor, Ben Bradlee.

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 21, 2014
This undated image provided by Google, shows an early version of Google's prototype self-driving car. For the first time, California's Department of Motor Vehicles knows how many self-driving cars are traveling on the state's public roads. The agency is issuing permits, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 that let three companies test 29 vehicles on highways and in neighborhoods. (AP)

The future of the car: from the fuels they’ll run on, to the materials they’ll be made of, to the computers that may drive them.

 
Oct 21, 2014
David Perdue, Michelle Nunn

Two weeks to go till Midterm Election Day. We’ll look at how the biggest issues are playing out around the country.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Introducing The Explicast: A New Podcast From On Point Radio
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

Confused about the news? Don’t worry: so are we sometimes! Introducing a new On Point Radio podcast: The Explicast. You can find Episode One right here.

More »
1 Comment
 
Two LIVE Tracks From Jazz Violinist Regina Carter
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

Regina Carter shares two live tracks — one arrangement, and one original composition — with Tom Ashbrook in the On Point studio.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: October 17, 2014
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

We talk Facebook mishaps, whether Katy Perry was actually right and the glory of architectural giants and their iconic windows.

More »
Comment