Marian Shields Robinson

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Marian Shields Robinson
First Family 2013 Inauguration Day portrait Miarian.jpg
Marian Shields Robinson in 2013
Born Marian Lois Shields
(1937-07-30) July 30, 1937 (age 79)
Chicago, Illinois
Known for U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama's mother
Home town Chicago, Illinois
Spouse(s) Fraser C. Robinson III (m. 1960-1991; his death)
Children Craig Malcolm Robinson (b. 1962)
Michelle Robinson Obama (b. 1964)
Parent(s) Purnell Nathaniel Shields
Rebecca Jumper
Relatives Barack Obama (son-in-law)
Malia and Sasha Obama (granddaughters)

Marian Lois Robinson (née Shields; July 30, 1937) is the mother of former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama and mother-in-law of former President Barack Obama. She is a maternal, and the only living grandparent of Malia and Sasha Obama.

Early life and education[edit]

Marian Shields was born in Chicago in 1937, the fourth of seven children—five girls, followed by two boys—born to Purnell Nathaniel Shields, a house painter, and his wife Rebecca Jumper, a licensed practical nurse, according to Steve Shields, her youngest sibling.[1] Her ancestors had moved from Georgia to Chicago in the early 20th century during the Great Migration.

As a girl, Marian attended public schools. She married Fraser Robinson on October 27, 1960 in Chicago.[2]

Robinson formerly worked as a secretary for mail-order retailer Spiegel and at a bank.[3] Both she and her husband had extended families in Chicago, whom they saw frequently at holidays and other times.

While Michelle and Barack Obama campaigned in 2008, Robinson tended her granddaughters. Early in January 2009, it was reported that Robinson would move into the White House with the rest of the First Family in order to provide further transition support for her granddaughters.[4] She was the first live-in grandmother there since Elivera M. Doud, the mother of Mamie Eisenhower, during the Eisenhower administration. Some media outlets have dubbed Robinson the "First Granny."[5][6]


  1. ^ Skiba, Katherine (March 8, 2010). "First grandma keeps low profile". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 24, 2010. 
  2. ^ LoBello, Lia (July 2, 2008). "First Families: Radar introduces you to the next president's relatives". Radar. Archived from the original on January 23, 2009. Retrieved January 28, 2009. 
  3. ^ Saslow, Eli (February 1, 2009). "From the Second City, An Extended First Family". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 24, 2010. 
  4. ^ Swarns, Rachel L. (January 9, 2009). "Obama's Mother-in-Law to Move Into the White House". The New York Times. Retrieved January 9, 2009. 
  5. ^ Sherwell, Philip (January 14, 2009). "Michelle Obama persuades First Granny to join new White House team". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved January 28, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Will Obama mum-in-law make it a family affair in the White House?". Agence France Presse. November 22, 2008. Retrieved January 9, 2009. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Swarns, Rachel L. (2012). American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-220465-3.

External links[edit]