Marian Shields Robinson

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Marian Shields Robinson
First Family 2013 Inauguration Day portrait Miarian.jpg
Marian Shields Robinson in 2013
Marian Lois Shields

(1937-07-30) July 30, 1937 (age 81)
Known for Mother of Michelle Obama
Home town Chicago, Illinois
Fraser C. Robinson III
(m. 1960; died 1991)
Children Craig Robinson
Michelle Obama
Relatives Barack Obama (son-in-law)

Marian Lois Robinson (née Shields; born July 30, 1937) is the mother of Michelle Obama, former First Lady of the United States, and mother-in-law of Barack Obama, former President.

Early life and education

Marian Shields was born in Chicago in 1937, the fourth of seven children—five girls, followed by two boys—born to Purnell Nathaniel Shields, a house painter, and his wife Rebecca Jumper, a licensed practical nurse. Two of her sisters and her brother Steve still live in Chicago on the South Side, as she did.[1] [2] Both parents had multi-racial ancestry, but slavery times were not discussed much when she was growing up.[3] Their families had moved from rural Georgia to Chicago in the early 20th century during the Great Migration to northern industrial cities.[citation needed] As a girl, Marian attended public schools in Chicago.

Personal life

Shields married Fraser Robinson III on October 27, 1960 in Chicago.[4] She had worked as a secretary for mail-order retailer Spiegel and at a bank.[5]

They had two children together, a son Craig and a daughter Michelle LaVaughn, whose middle name was after Fraser's mother. While the children were in school, Marian was a full-time homemaker, encouraging their education and related activities. Both Marian and her husband had extended families in Chicago, whom the family saw frequently at holidays and other times.[citation needed]

Obama campaign and life in the White House

While Michelle and Barack Obama campaigned for his candidacy as president in 2008, Robinson helped them by providing support to her granddaughters. Early in January 2009, the family announced that Robinson would move into the White House with the rest of the First Family to provide further transition support for her granddaughters.[6] She was the first live-in grandmother there since Elivera M. Doud, the mother of Mamie Eisenhower, during the Eisenhower administration. Some media outlets dubbed Robinson the "First Granny".[7]


  1. ^ Skiba, Katherine (March 8, 2010). "First grandma keeps low profile". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 24, 2010.
  2. ^ Swarns, Rachel L. (June 16, 2012). "Meet Your Cousin, the First Lady: A Family Story, Long Hidden". The New York Times. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  3. ^ Swarns, Rachel L.; Kantor, Jodi (October 7, 2009). "In First Lady's Roots, a Complex Path From Slavery". The New York Times. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  4. ^ LoBello, Lia (July 2, 2008). "First Families: Radar introduces you to the next president's relatives". Radar. Archived from the original on January 23, 2009. Retrieved January 28, 2009.
  5. ^ Saslow, Eli (February 1, 2009). "From the Second City, An Extended First Family". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 24, 2010.
  6. ^ Swarns, Rachel L. "Obama's Mother-in-Law to Move Into the White House". The New York Times. Retrieved January 9, 2009.
  7. ^ Sherwell, Philip (January 14, 2009). "Michelle Obama persuades First Granny to join new White House team". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved January 28, 2009.

Further reading

  • Swarns, Rachel L. (2012). American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-220465-3.

External links

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