The monument had been a tribute to Melvinia Shields, great-great-great grandmother to Michelle Obama, and a source of pride for the community in which she’d lived. Shields had been born into slavery in 1884 before later moving to Georgia.
‘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,’ Rex resident and Clayton County Commissioner, Sonna Singleton, told local affiliate WSB TV.
So the residents who’d worked so hard to bring the monument to Rex were disturbed when they learned that the statue had been toppled over the weekend.
“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,” Singleton said.
Police do not know who knocked over the statue or when it happened.
Shields was brought to Rex when she was bequeathed in her slaveowner’s will to come and work on a farm for Henry Shields. Later Shields married and became a midwife, according to the Census.
Shields died at the age of 94 and was buried in Kingston, Ga.