“An important message in this… is that we are all linked.” •• Michelle Obama
Born a slave in South Carolina, Melvinia was bequeathed to Henry Shields, who lived in Clayton County, Georgia. At age 16, Melvinia gave birth to a son Dolphus Shield s, who was fathered by Henry’s son Charles. Melvinia eventually moved to Kingston, Georgia where she spent the remainder of her life working as a midwife. In Kingston, residents knew her fondly as “Mattie” McGruder.
Dolphus Shields moved to Birmingham and became a successful businessman. Later Dolphus’ descendants settled in Chicago, where his great-great-granddaughter, Michelle Robinson was born. Michelle married Barack Obama, who was elected President of the United States in 2008, serving two terms in office. A marker is placed in honor of Melvinia Shields at Queens Chapel Methodist Church Cemetery, where First Lady Michelle Obama’s great-great-great grandmother was laid to rest in 1938.