Clayton County will be honoring First Lady Michelle Obama's great-great-great grandmother Melvina Shields with a memorial dedication ceremony Tuesday.
The ceremony, made possible through a grant from the Georgia Department of Economic Development, will take place at 3 p.m. at Historic Rex Village.
Melvina Shields came to Rex as a slave from South Carolina when she was just 8 years old. Upon her owner's death, Melvina was "given" to his daughter and son-in-law, Christian P. and Henry W. Shields. Melvina would spend the next 30 years in what is now considered Rex, Clayton County, Georgia.
But the dedication doesn't come without controversy.
Those opposed to the memorial said they don't want their tax dollars spent on the project.
County commissioners said the money is coming from a fund generated by a special hotel/motel tax, which is earmarked for marketing and developing the county.
One commissioner said the memorial to the first lady's ancestor will bring money to the county.
"What better way than to be on a national stage, to be in the heart and minds of people all over this world, to invite people to Clayton County to celebrate the ancestry of the first black President, and the first black first lady. It's a great day for Clayton County," said Clayton County Commissioner Wole Ralph.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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