A Decision That Helped Shape Michelle Obama

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tags: Michelle Obama, Brown v Board of Education



She was born into the segregated Chicago of the 1960s, when public schools actively resisted integration. But in 1975, the city, under pressure to comply with the landmark Supreme Court decision desegregating public schools, opened a racially integrated high school for high achievers that changed the young woman’s life.

Michelle Robinson, a graduate of that integrated school, is now Michelle Obama, the first African-American first lady of the United States. In this season of civil rights anniversaries — in particular the 60th, on Saturday, of the 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kan. — she is talking in new and more deeply personal ways about race.

“She saw firsthand the impact of Brown v. Board of Education in her own life,” said Valerie Jarrett, a senior White House adviser and close friend of Mrs. Obama. “What she appreciates is the strength of diversity, how important it is to be in a community, a classroom, where you are hearing from all perspectives.”





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