Monument unveiling held for Michelle Obama ancestor

by: Tom Jones Updated:

A family member points to a picture of Melvinia Shields, the great-great-great grandmother of Michelle Obama.
REX, Ga. —

Hundreds of people celebrated the unveiling of a monument that showcases ancestral ties to the first lady in Clayton County Tuesday.

Channel 2's Tom Jones was there as some of Michelle Obama's relatives showed up for the unveiling.

Residents of the town of Rex said they are proud that the first lady's ancestors grew up there. They're also proud that the monument can help bring races together.

"That's what this is about unity and bringing blacks and whites together as one," resident Victoria Smith said.

Hundreds of people showed up for the dedication ceremony and unveiling of a monument that recognizes the life of a former slave who grew up in Rex.

That slave, Melvinia Shields, is the great-great-great grandmother of the first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama.

"Just having this tie to first lady of the United States as well as her being the first African-American first lady, this is a real source of pride for our county today," Commissioner Sonna Singleton said.

Many of Shield's family members showed up for the event.

The occasion illustrated the interracial relationships between slaves and slave owners.

Many of Michelle Obama's relatives are white, like Jarrod Shields. He said he has no problem with Obama being a relative.

"The interracial thing. No. We all bleed red. So, never has bothered me," Jarrod Shields said.

Joan Tribble is also related to Michelle Obama. She's having a hard time dealing with the fact her family owned slaves.

"But being related to Michelle, that didn't bother me at all," Tribble said.

The Shields family said they are very proud of Melvinia Shields and Michelle Obama.

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