Thursday, February 28, 2013

AlphabeThursday - O is for Michelle Obama


I just finished the most interesting book about Michelle Obama's family for my book club.  It was written last year by Rachel L. Swarns and is called American Tapestry : the Story of Black, White and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama.  The author researched back five generations through census records, courthouse papers, archives and family memories to tell this gripping story of a family's  "journey from slavery to the White House."


One thing my group agreed upon was that the "story" did not flow smoothly.  It wasn't written in any sort of chronological fashion.  Swarns might have repeated names and places in abundance throughout the book, but it helped me remember who was who.  I appreciated the Family Tree placed on the book's endpapers.

A lot of pertinent information was lost through illiteracy and unspoken words, but I thought Swarns did a good job keeping the family history alive, from their beginnings in Georgia and South Carolina, all the way through the family's arrival in Chicago.  Both men and women left their homes in search for a better life, many moving north before the "Great Migration," a term I'd never heard before.  It seems that Chicago was one of the big cities thought to be a real promise land to many African Americans, where people were allowed to vote.    

American Tapestry was listed on the NYTimes 100 Notable Books of 2012.  Anyone who is interested in genealogy or reading American women's history will be interested in this story.  I bought the hardbound book for my personal library; the paperback is scheduled to arrive in book stores in April 2013.

Here's a 2-minute video by Rachel Swarns about the book.


What did other bloggers write about for words that start with the Letter O?  Come to Ms. Jenny's blog, ...off on my tangent... and see!


10 comments:

Sarah~Magnolia Surprise said...

I have thought of reading this book since it came out -- it was good to hear your take on it. I admire our First Lady and would like to learn more about her ancestry.

Eyelah said...

I think I'm getting this book confused with a different book written by Michelle Obama. It's always interesting to be able to trace your ancestry especially for her since there was probably lots of information lost throughout time.

BeadedTail said...

I hadn't heard of this book before. I think it'd be interesting to trace family history since I don't even have a clue about mine past my grandparents. Pretty sad huh?

Stacia said...

Wow, this book sounds really interesting. I'm going to see of my library has it!

Gattina said...

I would love to read this book ! Have to try to find it somewhere on Internet. It's amazing that she could trace her ancestors so far back, because most of the black Americans were imported as slaves from Senegal and were illiterate. the whites wouldn't allow them to learn to read and write because they could become dangerous then. I have read a lot of books about slavery in the United States. It was a terrible time for them. Even in 1971 in the Southern States I saw benches and toilets with the sign "for whites only" although there should have been equal rights already.

Peg said...

Sounds interesting, but confusing is not a good thing in a book. I'm more of a reader of fiction!

Nancy said...

THat's so neat! I had no idea that book was out there!

Memories for Life said...

Michelle Obama is a great lady. I'm sure it was fun to read about her past.

Along These Lines ..... said...

Surprised there were not more Obama posts for this O-week.

Jenny said...

I haven't heard of this book but I generally love anything to do with history!

I'm going to see if this might be available through our library!

Thanks for an outstanding literary tip for the week!

A+

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