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  • This is a big deal    May 16 
Michelle Obama is finally starting to talk about race
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

To commemorate the landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education, First Lady Michelle Obama today will deliver a speech at a school in Topeka, Kansas, discussing the legacy of a ruling that struck down racial segregation in schools. And she knows of what she speaks: it's sometimes easy to forget, but Obama grew up in a segregated school system in Chicago in the 1960s.

The speech appears to be part of a broader push for the first lady to wade into the issue of race relations in America, a shift for a White House that has long shied away from a topic that has only become more fraught as we enter the closing years of Barack Obama's presidency. The New York Times has a big story today about how Brown directly affected Michelle Obama's life, allowing her to attend an integrated high school that paved the way for her acceptance to Princeton and Harvard Law.

At a time when the Supreme Court is striking down parts of the Voting Rights Act and inching toward ending affirmative action, the message is clear: the struggle for racial equality is a living memory for millions of Americans, and far from over.

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