Director Ava DuVernay Honors Michelle Obama’s Slave Ancestor On Twitter

Ava DuVernay is breaking barriers by directing A Wrinkle in Time, the first live-action movie directed by a black woman with a budget of more than $100 million. Perhaps it is due to her own laudable success that she is looking backwards to celebrate the journey of women of color that led to today’s progress in the United States.

DuVernay shared a compelling and emotional photograph on Twitter Saturday paying tribute to former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama’s slave ancestor, Melvinia Shields.

“Become your ancestor’s wildest dream,” the director tweeted accompanied by a photograph of a memorial built in Shields’ honor.

“This memorial is dedicated to the remarkable life of Melvinia ‘Mattie’ Shields McGruder,” the memorial reads, “She was born a slave in South Carolina in 1844. At age 6 she was brought to the nearby Shields farm in what is now Rex, Clayton County, Georgia. 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. Theirs is a story of hope.”

Obama’s great-great-great-grandmother would no doubt be brought to tears at the prospect of her lineage leading to such greatness, especially after everything she had to struggle through in her own life. DuVernay’s tweet — and the memorial itself — reminds us that as bleak as our country may seem, we have come so far… and as far as we have come, we have so much further to go.

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