First Lady Michelle Obama (LaVaughn Robinson) was born on January 17, 1964 in Chicago, Illinois to Fraser Robinson III and Marian. Michelle’s father was a Democratic precinct captain and her mom was a full-time homemaker until Michelle entered High School at which time she became a secretary at Spiegel’s Catalog Store. Both of Michelle’s parents’ families’ lineage can be traced back to pre-Civil War African Americans in the South. Michelle had an older brother Craig and her family has been characterized as close-knit and one that shared family meals together, read and played games. Young Michelle and Craig were raised with a great deal of emphasis on education. By age 4 both Michelle and her brother could read fluently and skipped the second grade. It was clear by the sixth grade when Michelle began attending gifted classes that she was a stand-out student amongst her peers. She learned French and took accelerated courses and moved on to attend Chicago’s first magnet high school for gifted children where she presciently served as the student government treasurer.
Michelle graduated from Whitney M. Young Magnet High School in 1981 as the class salutatorian. Like her brother, she followed him to Princeton University where she graduated cum laude in 1985. As a post-graduate she earned a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1988. After law school Michelle landed a job at the Chicago law firm Sidley Austin in the area of marketing and intellectual property. Sidley Austin was where she would meet future husband, President Barack Obama when he was a summer intern to whom she was assigned as an adviser. At first, Michelle was not interested in dating Barack thinking that their work relationship would not mix well with romance. Eventually Michelle relented and as they say the rest is history. The couple fell in love and their first kiss outside a Chicago shopping center was honored with a plaque in August of 2012. After two years of dating the couple married at Trinity United Church of Christ on October 3, 1992.
Michelle left her job at the firm and began her career in public service serving as an assistant to Mayor Daley before being named assistant commissioner of planning and development for the city of Chicago. In 1993 Michelle became the executive director for the Chicago office of Public Allies a nonprofit leadership-training program that assisted young adults hone their skills for their future work in the public sector. Michelle joined the University of Chicago in 1996 as associate dean of student services and was instrumental in developing the school’s first community-service program. After that she went on to work for the University of Chicago Hospitals beginning in 2002 in the capacity of executive director of community relations and external affairs. She continued to work there until shortly before her husband’s inauguration as President of the United States.
The camera loved Michelle and the press first took notice on a national scale while at her husband’s side when he gave a powerful speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. Just a few months later in November, Barack Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate seat from Illinois. By 2007, Michelle had scaled back her work slate to focus on campaign obligations as her husband was making the run for the presidential nomination. After being escalated to the role of First Lady, Michelle became an icon of inspiration for women and a fashion magnate.
As the 44th First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama has focused her role on very important causes that are close to her heart. She has shown a great deal of support for military families as well as aid working women balance both career and family and encouraging their civic duty. The First Lady has stressed the importance of the public’s responsibility to help those less fortunate. In fact, during the first year of her and her husband’s year in the White House Michelle and the President volunteered at homeless shelters and soup kitchens in the greater Washington, D.C. area. Michelle also continues to make appearances at public schools and as her second term begins, she still believes strongly in stressing the importance of education and volunteer work in our daily lives.