What a difference a generation makes — or in this case, five generations. Selma director Ava DuVernay tweeted a photo of a tribute to Michelle Obama's ancestor that has been moving and inspiring many people.
The inscription on the tombstone states that the former First Lady's great-great-great grandmother, Melvinia Shields, was born a slave in South Carolina in 1844 before settling in Georgia at age 6. The inscription details a vast change achieved in those generations. DuVernay shared a photo of the memorial with the caption, "Become your ancestor's wildest dream."
The director and filmmaker's tweet inspired others to share how far their families have come since the 13th amendment was added to the United States Constitution in 1865. Michelle Obama's predecessor, Melvinia Shields, would have been 21-years-old at the time the amendment was passed.
One tweet told the story of a Columbia University faculty member whose great-grandfather was a slave in Tennessee. Another shared a similar story along with how they became a genealogist. News reporter Erica Bennett tweeted some encouraging words, writing that, "the story of black America is one of strength, faith, and constant endurance. Still striving, but we have a lot to be proud of."
A background that started with oppression and prejudice became history-making; innumerable families share a history like this. They had to fight for something that is and always should have been an inalienable right. Michelle Obama not only went to Princeton University — she earned her law degree from Harvard University before becoming the 44th First Lady of the United States of America. Inscribed on the tombstone are the words, "Theirs is a story of hope."
It is a beautiful reminder of the resilience and perseverance that can create lasting change in the world.
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