Michelle Obama Biography: A Trailblazer’s Tale in Ten Captivating Chapters

Michelle obama Robinson was born on January 17, 1964 in Chicago, Illinois. Her father, Fraser Robinson III, was a city water plant employee and Democratic precinct captain. Her mother, Marian Shields Robinson, was a secretary at Spiegel’s catalog store.

Michelle grew up in a small bungalow on the South Side of Chicago where she shared a bedroom with her older brother Craig. Her parents emphasized the importance of education and hard work, pushing Michelle and her brother to excel academically.

She attended Bryn Mawr Elementary School and later Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, Chicago’s first magnet high school where she was a honor student. After high school, Michelle attended Princeton University where she majored in sociology and minored in African American studies, graduating cum laude in 1985.

Year Education
1981 Graduated from Whitney M. Young Magnet High School
1985 Graduated cum laude from Princeton University with a B.A. in Sociology
1988 Graduated from Harvard Law School with a J.D.

She then went on to earn her Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School in 1988.

Early Career

After law school, Michelle worked as an associate at the Chicago law firm Sidley Austin where she met her mentor and future husband, Barack Obama. In 1991, Michelle left corporate law to pursue a career in public service, working as an assistant to Mayor Richard M. Daley and then as the assistant commissioner of planning and development for the City of Chicago.

In 1993, she became the founding executive director of Public Allies Chicago, a leadership development program that helps young adults develop skills for future careers in the public sector. She worked with the organization for four years before moving to Washington D.C. when her husband was elected to the senate.

Marriage and Family

Michelle met Barack Obama when they were among the few African Americans at their law firm. She was assigned to mentor the new summer associate from Harvard. They soon began dating and were married on October 3, 1992.

Barack was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1996 and the U.S. Senate in 2004. Through Barack’s political career and travels, Michelle chose to provide stability for their two young daughters Malia and Sasha and only made occasional appearances with Barack on the campaign trail.

Year Marriage & Family Event
1992 Married Barack Obama
1998 Daughter Malia born
2001 Daughter Sasha born

In early 2008, with Barack emerging as the Democratic frontrunner for the presidential nomination, Michelle reduced her professional responsibilities by 80 percent to support his presidential campaign.

The White House Years

When Barack Obama was elected President of the United States on November 4, 2008, Michelle became the country’s first African-American First Lady.

She used her role to support military families, helping to create a nationwide initiative, Joining Forces, to provide them mental health services. She also launched Let’s Move!, an initiative to address childhood obesity.

Initiatives and Accomplishments as First Lady

As First Lady, Michelle was influential in the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010. The initiative set higher nutritional standards for school breakfast and lunch programs. She also played an important role in promoting the economic stimulus bill and the Affordable Care Act.

Some of her most notable projects and accomplishments as First Lady include:

Joining Forces

In 2011, Michelle launched Joining Forces with Dr. Jill Biden. It is an initiative supporting service members, veterans and their families with a focus on employment, education and wellness.

Let’s Move!

Launched in 2010 to provide families with better information to make healthy decisions, the program aims to handle increasing childhood obesity rates. Through this initiative, nutrition labels have been revamped and limits set on calories and sodium levels in school meals.

Reach Higher

In 2014, Michelle launched Reach Higher, an initiative meant to inspire young Americans to complete their education past high school. Reach Higher aims to expose students to college and career opportunities and assist them with completing financial aid applications.

Advocate for International Education of Women and Girls

As first lady, she spoke openly regarding the educational obstacles faced by 62 million girls around the world who are denied schooling. In 2010, she spoke at the all-female Oxford University College following decades of male-only admittance policy.

Year Initiative Details
2011 Joining Forces Supports military families with focus on employment, education and wellness
2010 Let’s Move! Aims to combat childhood obesity epidemic
2014 Reach Higher Encourages post-high school education

What were Michelle Obama’s major initiatives as First Lady?

As First Lady, some of Michelle Obama’s major initiatives included:

  1. Joining Forces (2011) – Supported service members, veterans and their families
  2. Let’s Move! (2010) – Addressed childhood obesity epidemic
  3. Reach Higher (2014) – Encouraged post-high school education
  4. Advocate for International Education of Women and Girls – Spoke out about educational obstacles for young women globally

She used her role as First Lady to bring attention to important issues like military families’ well-being, children’s health and fitness, the importance of education and barriers faced by girls and young women in the U.S. and globally. Programs like Joining Forces, Let’s Move! and Reach Higher aimed to provide additional support, resources and opportunities for Americans facing challenges in areas Michelle Obama chose to spotlight as First Lady.

Post-White House Years

After leaving the White House, Michelle Obama released her memoir, Becoming, in November 2018. The book discusses her childhood, education, family life and experiences as First Lady. It sold over 10 million copies by 2019, making it one of the best selling memoirs in history.

She and Barack Obama also signed a production deal to produce films, documentaries and other content for Netflix in 2018. Their production company is called Higher Ground Productions.

The Obama family also established the Obama Foundation in 2014 which oversees the planning of Barack’s presidential library in Chicago’s South Side where they aim to expand historical exhibition space to underrepresented groups. Michelle serves on the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

What has Michelle Obama focused on since leaving the White House?

Since leaving the White House in January 2017 after eight years as First Lady, Michelle Obama has focused on:

  • Releasing her record-setting memoir “Becoming”
  • Establishing Higher Ground Productions with Barack to create content for Netflix
  • Serving on the Board of Directors for the Obama Foundation which oversees Barack Obama’s presidential library
  • Continuing advocacy work related to causes like girls’ education and voting rights
  • Speaking out on political and social issues like voter participation and women’s empowerment

Through projects like her memoir, film/television production company with Barack, supporting the Obama Foundation and using her platform to discuss social issues, Michelle Obama remains highly influential promoting causes she championed as First Lady and taking on new roles in media production, advocacy and philanthropy.

Michelle Obama’s Activism and Public Image

As a highly educated black woman raised on the South Side of Chicago, Michelle Obama has personally faced and overcome many struggles related to both race and gender. She attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School in primarily white male environments and had her capabilities doubted at various points in her early career despite impressive academic credentials.

Through her exceptional merit and hard work, along with her charisma and compassion.


Michelle Obama’s journey has been an exceptional one – from her humble beginnings on the South Side of Chicago to becoming First Lady of the United States.

Her advocacy work has focused attention on critical issues facing Americans today including military families’ welfare, childhood obesity, the importance of education, and barriers faced by young women across the globe.

She has become a role model for women and girls everywhere, exemplifying strong morals, impressive capability, and courage through adversity. Even as her husband Barack Obama left office after two terms as president, Michelle continues to influence many through initiatives like Higher Ground Productions, her record-setting memoir, advocacy work, and service on the Obama Foundation board.

As her next chapters unfold, Michelle Obama remains committed to public service and acting as a champion for those whose voices go unheard. There is still much expected from the former First Lady who has already made history yet continues to build an inspiring legacy as an advocate, author, and cultural icon.


Where did Michelle Obama attend college?

Michelle Obama attended Princeton University for her undergraduate degree, graduating cum laude in 1985 with a major in Sociology and a minor in African American Studies. She then went on to earn her law degree from Harvard Law School in 1988.

How did Michelle and Barack Obama meet?

Michelle Robinson met Barack Obama in 1989 when she was assigned as his mentor at the Chicago law firm Sidley Austin. They soon started dating and were married on October 3, 1992.

What valuable causes did Michelle Obama champion as First Lady?

As First Lady, Michelle Obama championed causes supporting military families, tackling childhood obesity, promoting the importance of education and breaking down barriers faced by women globally to receive quality education and career opportunities.

What influential initiative did Michelle Obama launch to support continued education?

In 2014, Michelle Obama launched Reach Higher, an initiative meant to inspire young Americans to complete their education past high school. Reach Higher aims to assist students in completing financial aid applications and exposes them to college and career opportunities.

How many copies of Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming have sold?

Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming, released in November 2018, has sold over 10 million copies globally, making it one of the best selling memoirs in history.