Ava DuVernay shares a powerful tribute on Twitter, honoring progress and inspiring hope.
“Become your ancestor’s wildest dream,” the “Queen Sugar” director wrote on Saturday, attaching a photo featuring a memorial paying homage to one of former first lady Michelle Obama’s slave ancestors, Melvinia “Mattie” Shields McGruder.
Become your ancestor’s wildest dream. pic.twitter.com/4xvyBZauwY
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) August 5, 2017
“She was born a slave in South Carolina in 1844,” the memorial reads. Obama was born in 1964, 120 years after her great-great-great-grandmother.
The memorial, which stands in Rex, Clay County, a community outside of Atlanta, marks the land — a small farm — where Shields worked as a slave, a struggle noted on the monument, cementing her “remarkable life.”
“At age 6 she was brought to the nearby Shields farm in what is now Rex, Clayton County, Georgia,” states the inscription. “Her family would endure a five-generation journey that began in oppression and would lead her descendant to become first lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama,” continues the etching on the memorial, which was dedicated in 2014, according to the Rome News-Tribune. “Theirs is a story of hope.”
Despite some progress, as Obama and her husband, former President Barack Obama, can attest, America still has a long way to go to overcome prejudice, racism and inequality. In December, Barack spoke candidly on CNN about the racism he’d faced during his two terms in the White House. “Attitudes about my presidency among whites in northern states are very different from whites in southern states,” he said.
During a talk to a group of young women last month about the struggles she faced as first lady, Michelle said, “Knowing that after eight years of working really hard for this country, there are still people who won’t see me for what I am because of my skin color.”
Overall, the tribute had a positive impact. You could say it brought Saturday to a nice close. “THIS gives me chills – HEAD-to-TOE CHILLS. Just BEAUTIFUL,” tweeted one user. “More monuments like Mattie’s and less monuments to the men who feared that she may one day have one,” penned another.
With daughter Malia Obama headed to Harvard any day now, we anticipate this is just the beginning of another longstanding legacy.