In Washington, Mrs. Robinson is anonymous enough to go around town undetected. But for six days in China, the least-public resident of the White House was a central figure on the public stage. Overseas trips like the one she took with her daughter and granddaughters in March provide an uncommon glimpse into the family dynamic and the critical role she’s continued to play in the first family.
Marian Robinson, mother of first lady Michelle Obama, moved into the White House in 2009. Robinson moved after a lifetime in Chicago, where she was raised by a painter and a stay-at-home mother in a small house with seven siblings on the South Side. Cliff Owen/Associated Press Buy Photo