Michelle Obama’s mother, Marian Shields Robinson, has died

WASHINGTON – Marian Lois Shields Robinson, 86, who raised her daughter, Michelle Obama, in a small apartment on Chicago’s South Side and later went to live in the White House when Barack Obama became president, died Friday, her family announced.

The former first lady often credited her mother and her late father, Fraser, for instilling in her values and discipline while growing up at 7436 S. Euclid Ave. Her father died in 1991.

Mrs. Robinson moved back to Chicago after living in the White House.

On Mothers Day May 12, Michelle Obama wrote, “My mom has always been my rock and I’m so grateful for all the ways she continues to show up for my family. She’s taught me so much over the years, and I feel so lucky that I get to pass that same wisdom down to my own girls.”

An exhibit in the Obama Presidential Center Museum, now under construction in Jackson Park, will be named in honor Marian Robinson.

In announcing the naming of the “Opening the White House” exhibit after her mother, Michelle Obama wrote, “Growing up with my mom always was an adventure.

“It entailed trips to the library as a toddler to learn the alphabet; the entire family piling into our car to go to the local drive-in — homemade chicken in hand. It included Mom inviting family over for New Year’s Eve, raising a toast as the clock struck midnight.

“But above all else, my mother gave me nonstop, unconditional love in so many ways. She fostered in me a deep sense of confidence in who I was and who I could be by teaching me how to think for myself, how to use my own voice, and how to understand my own worth.

“I simply wouldn’t be who I am today without her.”

After Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, Mrs. Robinson moved into the White House to help with childcare duties for then young daughters Sasha and Malia. During her time in Washington, she would leave the White House to go shopping or meet with friends, moving around the city unrecognized, a situation her famous daughter, who missed shopping at Target, envied.

It was a tough sell to convince Mrs. Robinson to move in.

“I flat out begged her,” the former first lady wrote in her book, “The Light We Carry,” about convincing her mother that she needed to leave the South Side. “I’d enlisted Craig (Mrs. Robinson’s son and Michelle Obama’s brother) to further twist her arm. My mother was the rock of our family. She steadied us all. Since the time our daughters were babies, she’d help us out around the edges of our regular childcare arrangements.”

Details on funeral arrangements had not been released as of early Friday evening.

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