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.
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.”