A Remarkable Tweet Honors A Woman Born Into Slavery And Her Descendant, Michelle Obama

“Become your ancestor’s wildest dream.”

Ava DuVernay started an important conversation this weekend on Twitter when the filmmaker behind 13th, Selma and A Wrinkle In Time posted a photo Saturday morning of the memorial to Melvinia Shields, a Black woman who was born a slave in South Carolina in 1844. While Shields' name will spark recognition with few, many more are familiar with the name of Shields' great-great-great-granddaughter: Michelle Obama.  

"She was born a slave in South Carolina in 1844," the inscription on the plaque in Rex, Georgia outside Atlanta reads. "At age 6 she was brought to the nearby Shields farm in what is now Rex, Clayton County, Georgia." 


It continues: 

"Her family would endure a five-generation journey that began in oppression and would lead her descendent to become first lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama. Theirs is a story of hope."

DuVernay tweeted an image of the memorial with a simple, yet poignant caption: "Become your ancestor's wildest dream."

Many were touched by the sentiment and shared their own journeys to accomplishing what their ancestors would have considered unthinkable. 

While minorities across the country continue to face institutional racism (Obama herself recently spoke out about the racism she faced as First Lady), DuVernay's tweet points out that the progress the African American community has made should be honored. Hope remains for what can be accomplished for the next five generations. 


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