WASHINGTON, January 17, 2014–In recognition of Michelle Obama’s 50th birthday, tonight CNN will take a look at her life in “An Extraordinary Journey: Michelle Obama turns 50.”
For any woman, Michelle Obama’s story is a shining example of perseverance. But considering the fact that her paternal great-great grandfather was a slave, her story is even more remarkable. Obama was raised in what she describes as a “conventional” home, with “the mother at home, the father works, you have dinner around the table.”
Obama’s parents went to extraordinary lengths to secure a quality education for their future first-lady daughter. Obama attended Chicago’s first magnet school, a commitment that required a daily three hour round trip commute.
While attending Whitney Young High School Obama remained on the honor roll and eventually graduated as salutatorian in 1981. From there she followed her older brother to PrincetonUniversity and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1985.
She also earned a doctorate degree from Harvard Law School in 1988. Following law school, she became an associate at the Chicago office of the law firm Sidley Austin where she met her future husband, Barack Obama.
In 1993, she became Executive Director for the Chicago office of Public Allies, a non-profit organization encouraging young people to work on social issues in nonprofit groups and government agencies. She worked there nearly four years and set fundraising records for the organization that still stood 12 years after she left.
The lists of social issues Michelle Obama champions are many, but beyond that, her story is an example of the American dream come to life. Through hard work and perseverance she has shown young Americans that no matter what the obstacle, they can rise above it.
So just once, leave the politics out of this extraordinary woman’s life and applaud her for her own individual accomplishments. There is a lot more to Michelle Obama than what she wears and how many push-ups she can do.
“An Extraordinary Journey: Michelle Obama turns 50” airs tonight at 10 p.m. on CNN.