In Georgia, an Obama monument honoring the ancestors of First Lady Michelle Obama was toppled by vandals.
The Obama monument was installed about a year ago to honor Michelle Obama’s great-great-great-grandmother, Melvinia Shields. Shields was born into slavery in 1844, dying at the age of 94 in 1938.
Later genealogical research in 2009 linked the First Lady with Shields, prompting the installation of the Obama Monument in Clayton County, Georgia to mark the former slave girl’s connection with the White House and America’s first black President.
But after it stood just a year, vandals targeted the Obama monument, toppling the stone marking the life of Shields and possibly damaging it.
The vandalism of the Obama monument was revealed Monday, but it’s not clear when the incident may have occurred or when the defacing of the marker came to light.
Clayton County Commissioner Sonna Singleton confirmed the Obama monument vandalism to local news sources, saying that the marker was meaningful to the small community due to its testament to the town’s White House connection.
“It was our little source of pride because here we are in little old Rex, Georgia, and we had ties to the White House, so there’s pride in us for that … We’re going to believe just the way we showed that unity on that day here in Rex when we had the dedication of this memorial, we’re going to believe that there’s not that kind of hatred or dissension that someone would do this.”
It’s not yet clear whether the Obama monument to honor Shield sustained any damage, serious or superficial, when it was toppled, but the company from which it was obtained will be checking the stone for cracks to determine its current state.
A celebration for the Obama monument was planned for later in June, and the county expects to have assessed and possibly repaired the marker by then.