Michelle Obama: The Voice and Embodiment of (African) American History
This article draws upon two biographies of Michelle Obama, Michelle: A Biography by Liza Mundy (2008) and Michelle Obama: An American Story by David Colbert (2009) to relate the life story of the first African American First Lady. They portray an “ordinary” African American woman with an “extraordinary” destiny and use the tension between these two perspectives to outline an exceptional biographical character. Giving insight into a woman’s experience marked by the complex and painful African American history, the biographers have woven her own family story into collective history. As they retrace her ancestors’ perilous lives, from slavery in South Carolina and Georgia to the historical events that took place in Chicago during the twentieth century, they reveal Obama’s symbolic impact on the psyche of many African American families as well as her deep sense of historical responsibility.
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