Filmmaker Ava Duvernay paid tribute to former First Lady Michelle Obama’s ancestor, Melvinia Shields, by posting a moving and inspiring post on Twitter. The Queen Sugar creator and director shared a memorial to Shield’s in a photo. Though Shields was laid to rest in Kingston, Georgia, the memorial sits in Rex, a community outside of Atlanta, where Shields worked as a slave. The inscription on the memorial to Michelle Obama’s ancestor says, “Her family would endure a five-generation journey that began in oppression and would lead her descendant to become the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. Theirs is a story of hope.” In Duvernay’s caption, she pointed out that the former First Lady has “become her ancestor’s wildest dreams.”
We can’t help but repeat the inscription: “Theirs is a story of hope.” It truly is. We’ve come a long way, and yet we still have so much further to go.
We weren’t the only ones that found this post inspiring. Justin Garrett Moore, the Executive Director of NYC Public Design, was inspired to share his own family history.
Ava Duvernay is no stranger to shattering glass ceilings herself.
According to The Atlantic, Duvernay is the first African American female director to have a film nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards (Selma) and to direct a film with a $100 million budget.
Duvernay has used her spotlight to call out the lack of opportunities for women and people of color in the entertainment industry. She tweeted:
Duvernay, who also created the OWN show, Queen Sugar, has hired all female directors for both seasons of her show. She proves the depth and strength of her convictions through her actions (not just her Tweets).
When asked what her advice is to people pursuing careers in a creative fields, Ava had this to say to Real Simple:
We love Ava’s ferocity, honesty and passion!