February 19, 2009





Michelle Obama Opens the White House to Kids
February 18, 2009 6:32 PM

ABC NEWS’ Yunji de Nies reports:

First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed 180 children to the White House today to listen to a performance by Sweet Honey in the Rock, an all female African American a capella ensemble, as part of a celebration of African American History Month. The children were mostly sixth and seventh graders from local Washington DC schools. Children of the White House staff and residence staff were invited as well.

“We were all very much kids like you guys,” Mrs. Obama told the children, “We just figured out one day that our fate was in our own hands. We made decisions to listen to our parents, our teachers, and work very, very hard for everything in life. And then we worked even harder anytime anyone doubted us.”

Dressed in a crisp white shirt, green sweater with blue patent leather belt and tweed skirt, Mrs. Obama gave the kids a short history lesson – touching on several Black history milestones at the White House. She explained that the White House had been built by in part by slaves, that President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation in the Lincoln bedroom upstairs, and that Dr. Martin Luther King Junior and other civil rights leaders had come to the White House to meet with Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Then she asked, “And of course, who lives here now?”
“President Obama!” the kids answered in unison

“President Obama. And he’s making history every single day. Why?” she asked.

One girl’s voice rose above the crowd, and the First Lady asked her to stand and speak up.

“He’s the first African American president of the United States,” the girl said.

“The next chapter in history is written by you,” Mrs. Obama said. “That’s not just a story that Barack Obama is writing…Those are the stories that we’re all writing together, and you’re an important part of that.”

Mrs. Obama then introduced Sweet Honey in the Rock, a D.C. based a cappella ensemble, founded in 1973. The group, sang several songs – including “This Little Light of Mine,” “The Ballad of Harry T. Moore,” and “Young and Positive.” They stopped periodically to speak about African American history and involved the children in call and response songs. Mrs. Obama watched the performance with daughters Sasha and Malia, along with their grandmother Marian Robinson.

After the performance, Mrs. Obama stood by the door and shook the hands of the children as they left. Over the last two weeks, the First Lady has spoken repeatedly about her desire to open the White House and become more involved in the Washington community. Her staff says this is just the first of many events for children at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

— Yunji de Nies

February 18, 2009 | Permalink | User Comments (16)

User Comments

First Lady Michelle is classy, unpretentious and “real”. Thanks Michelle, keep it real. You go girl.

Posted by: sngeorgia | Feb 19, 2009 7:10:59 AM

ann savage: what did you for Hurricane Katrina??????Did you voice your concern to George W. Bush……Let’s come together and give love, fast and pray. Michelle, you are truly a FIRST LADY. You wear it well!!

Posted by: ldsmith | Feb 19, 2009 3:22:06 AM

Obamacrat for Palin, if you can flip on him that quickly, there is nothing he can do that would make you happy. What have you done to help the people in Kentucky? Why are you waiting for him to save them? Every little bit helps.

As far as Michelle Obama, it is almost surreal, but I am so impressed with her so far.

Keep up the good work I say.

Posted by: ms. Kay | Feb 19, 2009 12:08:23 AM

Too bad Genna, you have to keep looking.

Posted by: Bill M | Feb 18, 2009 11:36:28 PM

Great Job Michelle Letting the Kids in the White House What a Great Experience For them

Posted by: josh | Feb 18, 2009 11:34:52 PM

Surprising, but well done Michelle Obama. I know First Ladies do things like this all the time, but I don’t know if the children they bring to the WH come from Southeast DC. Somehow I doubt it.

This is the first time in my lifetime that the District and Washington will actually be one city.

I’m sure that there is weeping and gnashing of teeth in some parts of political Washington about the spectacle of it all. But I’m so excited about what might become possible for D.C. after so many years languishing.

As far as the Kentucky comment, I’m not sure it can’t be a both/and scenario. After watching Bush botch the Hurricane season and other natural disasters, I too am looking forward to competent leadership. Somehow I doubt if Palin had the metal in 08, then she will overcome it in 12. One W. president is enough for my lifetime.

Posted by: Genna | Feb 18, 2009 11:23:08 PM

I watched this today, it was great. good job Mrs. O. I had never heard of that group prior to this, I am gonna download their stuff off itunes later.

Posted by: violetmellis | Feb 18, 2009 10:50:12 PM

It was nice of her to let them imagine a future. Too bad the public schools in DC are so bad many of them will not get a good education, unlike her children in private school.

Posted by: Bill M | Feb 18, 2009 9:38:27 PM

omg in love her sooooooooooooooo much i wish i could meet her….!!!!! but i hope that she and barack keep up the good work

I love that she was able to tie the past into the future, and to enable these children to see that anything is possible if you work for it. Kudos to our fantastic First Lady!!

Posted by: Debzilla | Feb 18, 2009 7:35:13 PM

Sweet Honey in the Rock is a true DC treasure! Love their work.

Posted by: Jo | Feb 18, 2009 7:23:48 PM

What’s not to like?

Posted by: matt | Feb 18, 2009 7:06:15 PM

Bravo Michelle!

Posted by: cheguevera | Feb 18, 2009 6:56:25 PM


This is Michelle ObamaMichelle Obama, from my point of view Michelle Obama celebrate Black History Month
2009 February 22
First lady hosts Black History Month celebration
By DARLENE SUPERVILLE – WASHINGTON (AP) — Foot-stomping music filled the East Room of the White House on Wednesday as first lady Michelle Obama hosted nearly 200 schoolchildren for a Black History Month celebration featuring Sweet Honey in the Rock, an award-winning female a cappella ensemble.

Mrs. Obama seemed a bit surprised when the sixth- and seventh-graders from three local schools said yes, they knew slaves helped build the White House, that President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation upstairs in a bedroom named for him, and that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders met in the building with Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson to discuss the end of segregation.

“So you guys know your history. That’s a good thing,” she said. “That means your parents and teachers are doing their jobs.”

Mrs. Obama encouraged them to look beyond the names in the history books and to “think about the extraordinary people who live in your own world,” like parents, grandparents and teachers, “all those folks who play important roles in black history and American history every single day.”

She said they will write history’s next chapter and they should work hard every day, always put their best foot forward, even when no one is looking, and support their families at home by making their beds, putting away dishes and cleaning their rooms.

“That’s part of the preparation,” said Mrs. Obama, whose daughters, Malia and Sasha, sat in the front row with her mother, Marian Robinson.

Before Mrs. Obama spoke, the students listened as retired Rear Adm. Stephen Rochon told his own story. In 2007, Rochon became the first black man to be named chief usher at the White House and director of the executive residence.

President Barack Obama and the first lady have talked about opening up the White House and making it more accessible to the public.

Wednesday’s event with Sweet Honey in the Rock, a Grammy Award-winning ensemble, was the first with a student audience, including some whose parents are members of the White House’s professional staff. The students attend Shaw and Stuart-Hobson middle schools, and KIPP DC: KEY Academy, a charter school.

It’s so nice to said Michelle Obama doing saome normals things, even if it’s a publicity stunt(which I doubt). This was Thrusday 2/19/09

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