- NAME: Michelle Obama
- OCCUPATION: Lawyer, U.S. First Lady
- BIRTH DATE: January 17, 1964 (Age: 49)
- EDUCATION: Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, Princeton University, Harvard Law School
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Chicago, Illinois
- AKA: Michelle Obama
- Full Name: Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama
- Originally: Michelle LaVaughn Robinson
- ZODIAC SIGN: Capricorn
Best Known For
Michelle Obama is a lawyer, Chicago city administrator and community outreach worker, as well as the wife of U.S. President Barack Obama and the 44th first lady.
Just before game one of the 2011 World Series, Michelle Obama became the first sitting First Lady to tweet on Twitter, when she sent out a message of support to military families. Video courtesy of the White House.
In the Spring of 2009, locale school children helped First Lady Michelle Obama plant the first White House garden since Eleanor Roosevelt's World War II Victory Garden. Video courtesy of the White House.
A short biography of Michelle Obama, who rose up from her tough Chicago neighborhood to become a Princeton and Harvard alumni with a successful career, wife of Barack Obama, and eventually the first lady of the United States.
First Lady Michelle Obama spoke about meeting Nelson Mandela and his legacy while visiting Soweto, South Africa. Video courtesy of The White House.
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Michelle Obama was born on January 17, 1964 in Chicago, Illinois. She attended Princeton University, graduating cum laude in 1985, and went on to earn a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1988. Following law school, she worked at a Chicago law firm, where she met her husband, President Barack Obama. The couple married on October 3, 1992. As first lady, she has focused her attention on current social issues.
"Every day, the people I meet inspire me. every day they make me proud, every day they remind me how blessed we are to live in the greatest nation on Earth. Serving as your first lady is an honor and a privilege."
"When I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don't invest any energy in them, because I know who I am."
"One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals."
“I have the privilege of working on the issues that I choose and the issues that I feel most passionate about.”
“These are the moments that define us -- not the day you get the promotion, not the day you win teacher of the year, but the times that force you to claw and scratch and fight just to get through the day; the moments when you get knocked down and you’re wondering whether it’s even worth it to get back up. Those are the times when you’ve got to ask yourself, who am I going to be?”
“That’s what’s always made this country great –- embracing the diversity of experience and opinion that surrounds us everywhere we go.”
“The only difference between me and every other woman that I know is that my challenges are publicized, and I'm doing this juggling in front of cameras.”
“We should always have three friends in our lives -- one who walks ahead who we look up to and we follow; one who walks beside us, who is with us every step of our journeys; and then, one who we reach back for and we bring along after we’ve cleared the way.”
“People told me, 'You can do it all. Just stay the course, get your education and you can raise a child, stay thin, be in shape, love your man, look good and raise healthy children.' That was a lie.”
“Exercise is really important to me — it’s therapeutic. So if I’m ever feeling tense or stressed or like I’m about to have a meltdown, I’ll put on my iPod and head to the gym or out on a bike ride along Lake Michigan with the girls.”
“It would be hard for me to edit myself and still be me.”
“We learned about dignity and decency – that how hard you work matters more than how much you make...that helping others means more than just getting ahead yourself.”
“As women, we must stand up for ourselves. As women, we must stand up for reach other. As women, we must stand up for justice for all."
“She’s fundamentally honest—goes out there, speaks her mind, jokes. She doesn’t parse her words or select them with an antenna for political correctness.”
Michelle Obama was born Michelle LaVaughn Robinson on January 17, 1964 in Chicago, Illinois. She would later become a lawyer, Chicago city administrator, community outreach worker and—as the wife of U.S. President Barack Obama—the United States' first lady.
Michelle was raised on Chicago's South Side in a one-bedroom apartment. Her father, Fraser Robinson, was a city pump operator and a Democratic precinct captain. Her mother, Marian, was a Spiegel's secretary who later stayed home to raise Michelle and her older brother, Craig. The family has been described as a close-knit one that shared family meals, read and played games together.
Craig and Michelle, 21 months apart in age, were often mistaken for twins. The siblings also shared close quarters—they slept in the living room with a sheet serving as their makeshift room divider. Both children were raised with an emphasis on education. The brother and sister learned to read at home by the age of 4, and both skipped second grade.
By sixth grade, Michelle was attending gifted classes, where she learned French and took accelerated courses. She then went on to attend the city's first magnet high school for gifted children, where, among other activities, she served as the student government treasurer. "Without being immodest, we were always smart, we were always driven and we were always encouraged to do the best you can do, not just what's necessary," her brother, Craig, has said. "And when it came to going to schools, we all wanted to go to the best schools we could."
Michelle graduated in 1981 from Whitney M. Young Magnet High School in Chicago's West Loop as class salutatorian. After high school, she followed her brother to Princeton University, graduating cum laude in 1985 with a B.A. in Sociology. She went on to earn a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1988, where she took part in demonstrations demanding more minority students and professors.
Following law school, Michelle worked as an associate in the Chicago branch of the law firm Sidley Austin in the area of marketing and intellectual property. There, in 1989, she met her future husband, Barack Obama, a summer intern to whom she was assigned as an adviser. "I went to Harvard and he went to Harvard, and the firm thought, 'Oh, we'll hook these two people up,'" Michelle said. "So, you know, there was a little intrigue, but I must say after about a month, Barack ... asked me out, and I thought, 'No way. This is completely tacky.'" Initially, she refused to date Barack, believing that their work relationship would make the romance improper.
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When the 19th Amendment was ratified, women were finally given the right to vote, and over the years many courageous women have stepped onto the national political stage as well. In 1916, Jeannette Rankin became the first woman elected to Congress and almost a century later Sonia Sotomayor became the first Latina woman to serve on the Supreme Court. And within the last two decades, the esteemable Hillary Clinton has served as First Lady, a New York senator and Secretary of State. These women, and many more, are setting the stage for the future of female leaders in Washington.
Visit Biography.com's Women's History group to explore more biographies, photos and videos of some the world's most fascinating women."
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The wives of U.S. presidents are often important American figures in their own right. Although they have no official responsibilities, first ladies are a highly visible part of U.S. government. The role of the first lady has evolved over the centuries, from hostess of the White House to advocates for public policy. Learn about the different causes first ladies like Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton, and Michelle Obama have championed over the years, from literacy to addiction to health care reform.
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