Michelle Obama and Her Working Class Roots - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

The Pepsi Center Crowd Adores Michelle Obama
The Pepsi Center Crowd Adores Michelle Obama
Placing Michelle on the stage was a very smart strategy. It is easy to learn to love someone when you see them through the eyes of the person who loves them the most. But, when the crowd roared her Michelle and raised signs bearing her name high in the air it was easy to forget that she was not the presumptive candidate.

Michelle Obama’s speech this evening pulled the heartstrings of the crowd at the Pepsi Center proving that oration is not a gift exclusive to her husband of nineteen years. Introduced by her brother, Craig Robinson, who she described as her mentor, protector and lifelong friend, America saw a side of a middle class Michelle Obama that the “satire” of Obama henchmen can not penetrate.

She drew upon the commonality of her and Barack’s experiences as it related to the experiences of working class America. “[Barack] was raised by grandparents who were working class folks… and a single mother who struggled to pay the bills, just like we did,” said Michelle. When was the last time that Americans could say that their president and first lady were raised in working class families?

Hers was the story of hope and a dream undeterred, even given the odds. Because despite the odds–raised by parents who had not finished college, during a time and in a city where Chicagoans living on the South Side felt the weight of the auto industry’s demise–the love and sacrifice of caring, dedicated parents was more than enough to produce a woman of unimaginable caliber.

Her speech cut to the heart of Barack’s stance on the issues (Health care, family values and job creation) without hardly addressing the issues. She spoke about her father who persevered through multiple sclerosis but continued to provide for the family, about Barack’s years setting up job training and after school programs, and about the hopes and dreams she has for her own daughters.

Her speech and the truth in the history behind it will make it very hard for pundits to accuse the Obama’s of being elitist. If nothing else, her speech proves that the American dreams of the working class masses can come true.

Marcia A. Wade is the interactive reporter at Blackenterprise.com

Update: Bill and Hillary Clinton were raised in working class families.  Hilary’s father graduated from Pennsylvania State University . Like Barack Obama, Bill Clinton was also raised by a single mother.

Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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