From Hidden to Modern Figures: Becoming Michelle Obama


After reading Michelle Lavaugn Robinson Obama’s best-selling memoir in 2018, Becoming, I have got to say . . . it is quite something. Although she describes her life as a youngster to her time serving as First Lady, the public only seems to focus on her notable accomplishments during her time in the White House, considering her to be the model for minority groups as well as the advocate who raises awareness on poverty, mental wellness, and feminism. 


Of course, her ability to reform America as First Lady is what makes her great above all others. In fact, critics say that her title as First Lady is the underlying reason as to why her book won the Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album. However, when I read her memoir, it seemed as though Michelle rarely ever emphasized her accomplishments. Instead, she delved deeper and opened up about something she will forever cherish and reminisce on: her private life as a young kid. Although her personal life was—and still continues to be—often overshadowed by other captivating parts of her memoir, it is important to recognize that it was Michelle’s personal life that inspired, motivated, and cultivated her to become the woman she is today… at least that is what she says in her memoir. 


I present to you the story of Michelle Obama—Becoming.


Known as the girl of the South, young Michelle immersed herself in navigating the bigger world outside her small four-window home in the heart of Chicago. Fraser Robinson, a water plant employee, and Marian Ann Robinson, a stay-at-home mom, believed in teaching their daughter to develop a sense of self while respecting the dignity of work and the true value of hard-earned money.


Her mother also wanted Michelle to pursue excellence in academics. With Michelle’s feisty attitude and curiosity to learn more about the world, she skipped second grade, enrolled in a gifted program, and thrived as a star student in Chicago’s first magnet high school—Whitney Young. A few years later, Michelle enrolled in Princeton University’s freshman class in the fall of 1981 and attended Harvard Law School as a graduate. 


After graduating in 1988, she worked as an associate in Sidley Austin, a law firm located in Illinois. That following year, Michelle became acquainted with Barack Hussein Obama II, whom she was assigned as a mentor through the law firm’s summer associate program. Initially, Michelle refused to date Barack, believing that their work relationship would make the romance improper. Nevertheless, she relented and the couple soon fell in love. After dating for approximately two years, Barack proposed marriage. …And that is when the story of two love birds began. 


It was the journey through her private life that enabled her to learn the value of money, education, and love—all of which are significant factors that make Michelle Obama rise above and beyond others. 


“She empowers. That’s all there is left to say.” —Barack Obama.