10 Things You Need to Know About Michelle Obama
There are a few things you may not know about the FLOTUS.
Michelle Obama was born and raised in Chicago. She grew up in an apartment in the city's South Side. The South Side of Chicago is a working class neighborhood with a reputation for crime. She had little time to get involved in neighborhood shenanigans, however, since her parents instilled the importance of education from a very early age.
Parents and Siblings
She was born Michelle Robinson to Fraser and Marian Robinson on Jan. 17, 1964. Her father worked for the city and her mother, Marian, worked as a secretary before becoming a stay-at-home-mom. Michelle has one brother, Craig, who is older than she is by almost two years. She and Craig remain very close.
Michelle has said her childhood was a happy one as part of a close family that spent a lot of time together. They all lived together in a one-bedroom apartment; she and her brother reportedly shared the living room to sleep at night. Michelle's parents taught her and her brother the importance of education from a very early age, which paid off because she was considered a gifted student even as a young girl.
She attended elementary school in Chicago's public school system. She reportedly also skipped second grade. She graduated high school in 1981 from Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, a school created for children that were considered "gifted." Michelle had been attending gifted classes since she was 12. She graduated from high school as salutatorian of her class.
Upon high school graduation, Michelle set her sights on Princeton, the same Ivy League school her brother was attending. She was admitted to Princeton and chose African-American studies and sociology as her undergraduate focus. She graduated from Princeton with honors in 1985. She then went on to attend law school at Harvard University, which she completed in 1988.
Once she finished her law degree and passed the Illinois State Bar, Michelle moved back to Chicago to work as a lawyer for a large firm. It was at the firm that she met her future husband, Barack. She first denied his advances, as she was technically his boss when he was an intern at the firm. She eventually obliged and the pair dated for two years before getting married Oct. 3, 1992.
Michelle first worked as a lawyer for the corporate firm Sidley and Austin in Chicago. She said the work was not her true calling and she instead went to work for the city as the mayor's assistant. She held other positions for the city, headed a nonprofit called Public Allies, became dean of student services at the University of Chicago and worked for the University of Chicago Hospitals and Medical Center before becoming First Lady.
Michelle Obama was no stranger to politics when she and her husband launched his presidential bid in 2008. She had encountered politics on the city level when working for the mayor and helping her husband run a successful congressional bid in 2004. Michelle avoids placing labels on her personal politics, but she has proven to be outspoken about women's roles at work and in the home.
After Barack Obama's election in 2008, Michelle said her focus as First Lady would be the transition of the couple's two school-aged daughters. Her mother, Marian, moved to Washington, D.C., with the couple to help. Even with her family as her primary focus, Michelle has proven to be an outspoken and strong First Lady, launching her own initiatives both on the White House grounds and across the country.
Once in the White House, and after her daughters transitioned to their new schools, Michelle Obama launched her first initiative as First Lady. She spearheaded an initiative to design, plant, and help maintain a garden right on the White House grounds, which also lead to adding a beehive for natural honey. She has remained a strong supporter of organic food and healthy eating movement. She launched another initiative called "Let's Move" in 2012, encouraging children to get outside and play new sports or activities. She also has offered her support for a variety of women's issues, to military families, with volunteerism, and on childhood obesity issues.