Michelle Obama

“We Were Their Investment”

Michelle Robinson Obama called the White House her home from 2009-2017 but grew up in an apartment of less than 800 square feet on Chicago’s South Shore. It was the second story of her Great Aunt Robbie’s house. Robbie was a piano teacher, and the sound of her students playing often filled the home. Michelle and her brother Craig shared a room with a makeshift partition providing limited privacy.

Yet the smallness of the Robinson home in part reflected a choice made by Michelle’s parents, Fraser and Marian. Instead of investing their modest income in a house, they chose to invest in their children. Michelle and Craig thrived in this environment, with both eventually attending Princeton University. After receiving a law degree at Harvard, Michelle returned home to Chicago where she worked as a lawyer and later invested in her own family.


Object label:

Michelle’s Piano Trophy

A trophy won by Michelle Obama as a young girl for her piano playing.

Courtesy of the Barack Obama Foundation

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