© 2018

Michelle Obama’s Impact on African American Women and Girls

  • Michelle Duster
  • Paula Marie Seniors
  • Rose C. Thevenin

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxxiii
  2. Power

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Rhonda Gray
      Pages 3-4
    3. Stenetta Anthony
      Pages 5-5
    4. Ruby Mendenhall
      Pages 29-30
    5. Yasmine Huggins
      Pages 31-42
    6. Jasmine J. Wyatt
      Pages 43-49
  3. Patriotism and Service

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 51-51
    2. Rhonda Gray
      Pages 53-54
    3. Hazel Marie Harris Watson
      Pages 55-55
    4. Sandy Philippeaux
      Pages 79-80
    5. Rachelle J. Brunn-Bevel, Kristin Richardson
      Pages 121-152
    6. Kenisha Coy
      Pages 153-153
  4. Defying Stereotypes: Black Body, Black Beauty & Motherhood

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 155-155
    2. Rhonda Gray
      Pages 157-158

About this book


This edited collection explores how First Lady Michelle Obama gradually expanded and broadened her role by engaging in social, political and economic activities which directly and indirectly impacted the lives of the American people, especially young women and girls. The volume responds to the various representations of Michelle Obama and how the language and images used to depict her either affirmed, offended, represented or misrepresented her and its authors.  It is an interdisciplinary evaluation by African American women and girls of the First Lady’s overall impact through several media, including original artwork and poetry. It also examines her political activities during and post-election 2016.


Michelle Obama and African American Women Michelle Obama and the Media First Ladies and the Media Black Women and Embodiment Black Motherhood Black Women and Politics

Editors and affiliations

  • Michelle Duster
    • 1
  • Paula Marie Seniors
    • 2
  • Rose C. Thevenin
    • 3
  1. 1.Columbia College ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Africana StudiesVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA
  3. 3.Department of Social SciencesFlorida Memorial UniversityMiami GardensUSA

About the editors

Michelle Duster is an author, speaker and educator who teaches writing at Columbia College Chicago, USA. She co-wrote, co-edited and contributed to eight other books. Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, she earned her BA in Psychology from Dartmouth College and her MA in Media Studies from The New School.

Paula Marie Seniors is an associate professor at Virginia Tech, USA, biographer of her family’s legacy in Mae Mallory, the Monroe Defense Committee and World Revolutions: African American Women Radical Activists and award-winning author of Beyond Lift Every Voice and Sing: The Culture of Uplift, Identity and Politics in Black Musical Theater.

Rose C. Thevenin was born and raised in Haiti and is an associate professor at Florida Memorial University, USA. She is co-founder of the Florida Africana Studies Consortium and former National Vice-Director of the Association of Black Women Historians. She is co-editor of the three-volume Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora, and has won multiple awards and fellowships for scholarship, leadership and community service.

Bibliographic information


“An engaging, multi-dimensional commentary on embracing power with poise and grace. Michelle Obama simply lives the American brand with a secure humility that should be replicated in all of our leaders. This collection of essays serves as an Obama encore. I want more!” (Robert J. Benz, Co-Founder, Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives)

“A timely and insightful work, Michelle Obama’s Impact on African American Women and Girls is an impactful piece. It is one that should be read for ALL generations to come. Kudos to the authors who heeded the call and contributed to this thought-provoking book.” (Sharron Goodman-Hill, Instructor of Mass Communications, Rust College, and Host, WURC’s Straight Talk Live)

“This timely collection reminds us all how the character of our national leaders profoundly shapes our everyday lives and aspirations. In engaging and heartfelt contributions, these authors show how Michelle Obama not only influenced national policy initiatives, but how her character sets a legacy of integrity, energy and intelligence that continues to inspire and guide millions of Americans.” (Marilyn Krogh, Associate Professor of Sociology, Loyola University Chicago)

“This lively, personal, and insightful anthology makes abundantly clear the far-reaching and multi-faceted impact of Michelle Obama. In the work of these authors, the First Lady's legacy will nourish and challenge future generations of Americans to come. I welcome and celebrate this book!” (Patricia A. Schechter, Professor of History, Portland State University)

“It is necessary and inspiring to read these insightful and powerful reflections on the legacy of Michelle Obama. America’s only African American First Lady made an extraordinary impression around the world during her eight years in the White House. From her stylish emergence in 2008 to her powerful oratory at the Democratic National Convention in 2016, she has energized people around the globe. This marvelous collection of essays and reflections is a beautiful and critically important documentation of Michelle Obama’s impact and a thoughtful exploration of the issues her leadership has shaped.” (Bryan Stevenson, Director, Equal Justice Initiative and Professor of Law, New York University, and best-selling author of Just Mercy)

“This collection of the myriad voices of Black women from all fields pays tribute to the inspiring, eloquent, and elegant former First Lady, Michelle Obama. The contents of this compelling and provocative book, more than a mere compilation of essays and poems, are rather deeply felt personal, heartfelt reflections on Mrs. Obama’s legacy. No need to read in chronological order, from beginning to end; treat it like a literary smorgasbord; a tasting menu; but do read it all! Completely satisfying, engaging and all together spiritually nourishing. A true keepsake.” (Tazewell Thompson, Award-winning Playwright, Theatre and Opera Director)