Back in 2009, I traced the then-new First Lady's family tree back four or five generations on all branches, but of all the ancestors I uncovered, it was a great-great-great-grandmother named Melvina Shields McGruder who captured my attention. Sadly, this remarkable woman who was born into slavery and lived until 1938 had no tombstone.
Fast forward to 2014. Descendants -- mostly still living in the vicinity of Kingston, Georgia where Melvina spent the last half of her life -- raised funds for and installed an impressive memorial. This video includes not only scenes from this moving ceremony, but also brief interviews with more than a dozen of Melvina's descendants, who also happen to be cousins of Michelle Obama's. While holding a board with their relationship to both Melvina and the First Lady stated, each one shares their thoughts about their notable relatives.
In addition to those seen here, Melvina and Michelle Obama share another relative of note: retired basketball player Cuttino "Cat" Mobley who spent a decade in the NBA playing for the Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic and Sacramento Kings. Whether he knows it or not, he is Melvina's third great-grandson, making him a fourth cousin of Mrs. Obama and her brother, former basketball coach turned ESPN analyst, Craig Robinson.