Michelle Obama: Leaving A Proud Legacy As The Nation’s First Black First Lady

On Friday we will get to hear outgoing First Lady on the United States’ final official words. This will take place at the White House’s East Room at a ceremony to honour the country’s counsellor of the year.

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This forms part of a programme she has been running for the last two years to inspire students to pursue higher learning. The first lady has certainly left her mark and despite the challenges she faced as the first black fist lady she vehemently defended her husbands often controversial policies as well as achieving a lot for access to education and working towards healthier nations.

The first ladies’ historian at the White House Historical Association, Allida Black told reporters: “What strikes me about Michelle Obama is how much she made the position her own,” adding. “She not only became increasingly comfortable but also increasingly influential as first lady in ways that really were her own, and they were ways that were different.”

Michelle certainly did not have an easy start and was initially considered a potential liability during Barack’s initial campaign. She overcame this and went on to make her mark to such an extent that supporters have even called for her to run for president herself. Clearly uncertain what the future of the role would entail after her husband’s 2008 victory.

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Michelle took on the position “somewhat reluctantly and somewhat unsure” of how it would affect her family, explains Anita McBride, former chief of staff to first lady Laura Bush as well as director of the First Ladies Initiative at American University. Her initial priority was to maintain a private life for her two young daughters, Sasha and Malia and herself, McBride said.

As she grew into the role, she still clung to those principals fiercely. One of the first major achievements was her Let’s Move! drive which sought to combat childhood obesity and lack of healthy food available to children. The next year she had legislation passed known as the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, something few first ladies have achieved in the past.

As with any similar position, Michelle met with much criticism but she handled it with dignity and poise and certainly achieved a lot in her time as the first lady. Some tough shoes to fill for the incoming first lady.