Michelle Obama’s family saga is a remarkable, quintessentially American story – a journey from slavery to the White House in five generations. Yet, until now, little has been reported on the First Lady’s roots. Prodigiously researched, American Tapestry traces the complex and fascinating tale of Michelle Obama’s ancestors. Rachel L. Swarns, a correspondent for the New York Times, brings into focus the First Lady’s black, white, and multiracial forebears, and reveals for the first time the identity of Mrs. Obama’s white great-great-great-grandfather-a man who remained hidden in her lineage for more than a century.
American Tapestry illuminates the lives of the first lady’s forbears who fought in the Civil War, escaped from bondage and often straddled the color line that divided blacks and whites. They survived slavery, endured Jim Crow and joined the Great Migration. It is an intimate family history, but it is also the collective chronicle of our changing nation, a nation in which racial intermingling lingers in the bloodlines of countless Americans and slavery was the crucible through which many family lines were forged.