Michelle Obama biography embodies highly specific version of the American Dream

April 15, 2015 12:07 PM

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If the Barack Obama story is about carving out an identity from a multicultural, biracial upbringing with an absent father, then the Michelle LaVaughn Robinson story is about how to be black and successful in America, as well as how to be successful and black. In other words: How does a black girl from South Side of Chicago get to Harvard Law School and, once she's there, how does she determine what her responsibilities are to her community, and what should be her relation to the wider world?

In his new biography of the first lady, "Michelle Obama: A Life," Chicago-based journalist Peter Slevin traces the story of the Robinson family from the 1930s, when Fraser Robinson Jr. left South Carolina for Chicago and the promise of more equal opportunities to the present where, for many years, a...

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