Michelle Obama not only served as the 44th First Lady of the United States of America, but is also an American lawyer, writer, and the founder of Let’s Move!, an initiative towards the prevention of child obesity, as well as an advocate of civil rights for women and LGBT people.
Michelle Robinson was born in Chicago in 1964. In 1985 she graduated from Princeton, and in 1988 she completed a law degree at the prestigious Harvard Law School, after which she worked at Sidley Austin, a Chicago corporate law firm of high repute. Though Sidley didn’t usually take on first-year law students as associates, in 1989 they asked Michelle to mentor a summer associate named Barack Obama. When he finished his term as an associate and returned to Harvard, their relationship continued long distance, and in 1992 they married. At the same time, Michelle was evaluating in those years whether a career in corporate law was really what she wanted. Corporate law, while lucrative, was not what she’d intended when she started college. She lost her father to kidney complications in 1991, which furthered her process of reflection; she was later quoted saying by the New York Times, “I wanted to have a career motivated by passion and not just money.” She left Sidley Austin and went to work for Chicago, first for the Mayor and then providing her expertise to Valerie Jarrett, the head of the planning and development department. In that position she was working for job creation and to bring new life to Chicago’s neighborhoods, and after this turning point, she never looked back.
After spending a few years working in hospital administration for the University of Chicago Hospitals, Michelle became First Lady of the United States when her husband won the presidential election of 2008. In this role, she advocated for military families, working women balancing family with career, and arts and arts education. Michelle also supported LGBT civil rights, working with her husband for the passage of the Employment Non- Discrimination Act and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. In 2010, she began to take steps to create a healthier lifestyle for the youth of America with the “Let’s Move” campaign to prevent child obesity. These are just a few of many of her accomplishments as the first African American First Lady in the White House. Now that she has left it, she is preparing to continue her advocacy work and write a planned memoir as she and the Obama family settle into their new residence in Washington, D.C., where they will remain until daughter Sasha Obama finishes high school.