9 Things Named After Michelle Obama Show Some Have A Quirky Way Of Honoring Her
People have numerous ways of expressing their admiration for public figures, and some are quirkier than others. In a gesture to mark the legacy of former first lady Michelle Obama, a list of things have been named after her, including schools and, more unexpectedly, even a spider.
Over the years, the former first lady has inspired many people through her work. From encouraging educational initiatives for girls to promoting healthy lifestyles for children across America, Obama has won nationwide attention for working on public causes. In 2018, The Associated Press dubbed her a "trailblazer."
Last year, the former first lady wrote her memoir, Becoming, which ended up selling over 2,000,000 copies throughout North America within just 15 days of its release on Nov. 13, 2018. On the first day of Becoming's release, the memoir sold 725,000 copies, The Hill reported.
Apart from her literary endeavors, Obama has also encouraged Americans to actively participate in their civic duties. Shortly before the midterm election in 2018, Obama went on the "When We All Vote" tour for her non-partisan voter registration program. The former first lady highlighted the significance of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in order to encourage more Americans to cast their ballots that election season.
Shared below are just some of the things that have been named after the former first lady over the years.
1. Teleogramma Obamaorum
In 2017, Mother Nature Network reported that the snail-devouring Congo River cichlid, formally known as the "teleogramma obamaorum," was named after the former first lady and her husband, former president Barack Obama. You can check it out in this tweet.
The decision originally took place in 2015. Liz Alter, a biologist at the City University of New York, told Grist that such a famous name could bring attention to the freshwater fish.
"The Congo River in particular is a little-explored library of evolutionary diversity. There are an extraordinary number of unique life forms like the Obama fish that live only in this place," Alter explained to Grist. "But the habitat is under threat from climate change, overfishing and a major new proposed dam. We're hoping that discovering and cataloging this extraordinary wealth of life will help us to protect it."
2. Michelle Obama Cattleya Orchid
Under a longstanding tradition in the White House, flowers have been named after first ladies. Obama became the 14th first lady to be part of that decades-long tradition. In 2019, The Smithsonian reported that the bright purple cattleya orchid was named after Obama.
According to the outlet, Michelle Obama's namesake orchid (viewable in these photos) takes seven years to grow into a full plant. The good news is that its beautiful flowers bloom after six weeks.
3. The Michelle Obama Walking Trail
In 2018, a walking trail in DeKalb County, Georgia, was named after Obama. Officially, it's known as the "Michelle Obama Walking Trail" and is connected to Gresham Park, 11 Alive reported.
4. Athletic Complex At Whitney Young Magnet High School
In March, The Hill reported Obama's alma mater, Whitney Young Magnet High School, announced its decision to name its $4.3 million athletic complex after the former first lady. Essence reported it would be ready in May. The massive complex would give students a chance to compete in basketball, football, and other sports.
5. Spintharus Michelleobamaae
In the more surprising instances, a "smiley-faced" spider was named after Obama in 2017. Scientifically, researchers at the Vermont University called this eight-legged creature the "Spintharus michelleobamaae." This is what the spider looks like.
That year, Ingi Agnarsson, a biology professor at the Vermont University, told DW.com, "In naming these spiders, the students and I wanted to honor people who stood up for both human rights and warned about climate change — leaders and artists who promoted sensible approaches for a better world."
6. The Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library
7. Michelle Obama Elementary School In Panorama City
Over the years, various schools have been named in honor of Obama and her husband. In 2013, an elementary school in Panorama City was named after the former first lady. Now it's called the Michelle Obama Elementary School.
8. The Barack And Michelle Obama Academy
9. The Barack and Michelle Obama Service Learning Elementary
In 2009, in Minnesota, the "Barack and Michelle Obama Service Learning Elementary" school was named in honor of both former president and first lady. According to its official website, the school helps students work on technology and cultural studies along with sharpening their leadership skills.
Seeing as Obama is still in the public spotlight and actively supporting various initiatives, you might begin to see even more establishments named after her in the years to come.