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Michelle Obama's example cannot obscure racist obstacles in today's America

Gerard O'Regan


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Michelle Obama’s roots can be traced to a six-year-old slave girl, included as a piece of property in a land owner’s will.

Michelle Obama’s roots can be traced to a six-year-old slave girl, included as a piece of property in a land owner’s will.

Michelle Obama’s roots can be traced to a six-year-old slave girl, included as a piece of property in a land owner’s will.

We tucked into our oversized breakfast of bacon, egg, sausages - and much else - in the out- of-the-way diner in Montgomery, Alabama.

The clientele was exclusively 'white folk'. They were mostly regulars on easy first-name terms with the husband and wife owners who doubled up as waiters.

The only black person was Abby. We learned he had been with the owners "since he was a kid". As he brought food to and fro, he had the acquired deference of the put-upon and defeated. Time and tide ensured he knew his place in the accepted order of things.