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Clayton commissioner to honor Michelle Obama’s ancestor

The Clayton County Board of Commissioners will dedicate a monument honoring the life of Melvina Shields, the great-great-great-grandmother of First Lady Michelle Obama.

The event will be held June 26, at 3 p.m., in the Historic Rex village, located on 3724 Mill Walk, in Rex.

Guest speakers will include: Eldrin Bell, chairman for the Clayton County Board of Commissioners; James McSweeny, regional administrator for the National Archives of Atlanta; Bruce Green, director of tourism product development for the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

Rachel Swarns, author of American Tapestry, a book about Michelle Obama’s ancestors, will also be on hand to speak. Featured in her book is Shields, who has roots in Clayton County, that were traced back to around 1850, when she was 6 years old and living in the county as a slave child. She was given her freedom as an adult.

Swarns will also speak again and autograph copies of her book at 6:30 p.m., at the National Archives at Atlanta, located 5780 Jonesboro Road, in Morrow.

Both programs are free and will be open to the public, but registration is required. Attendance for the book signing is limited to the first 500. To register, visit www.claytoncountyga.gov.