By Lesa Jansen, CNN
(CNN) - His family tree has been linked to Brad Pitt, Sarah Palin and both Presidents Bush but now President Barack Obama may be related to the first documented African slave in pre-revolutionary America.
Ancestry.com, which bills itself as the world's largest online family history resource, on Monday released research and documents which it says shows the first indentured African American servant is an ancestor of President Obama's mother.
"We have two of the most significant Africans in our country's history being directly related to each other," Joseph Shumway, an Ancestry.com genealogist, told CNN.
Shumway was part of a team of four genealogists who say they worked more than 500 hours to establish the connection between Obama's family and that of John Punch, an indentured servant who was sentenced to a life of slavery after an unsuccessful escape attempt in pre-revolutionary Virginia.
The Ancestry.com researchers found the new connection to the president's African roots through an unlikely link, that of Obama's Caucasian mother. President Obama's African American roots had previously been tied to his father's Kenyan birth. But as genealogists were pouring through documents tracing Stanley Ann Dunham’s ancestors, they found a connection to the Bunch family which had recently published DNA evidence that they had roots in sub-Saharan Africa. (see documents here)
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) –A Mississippi church that wouldn't allow a black couple to marry in its sanctuary because of the couple's race appears to be trying to right a wrong, as officials with the church's denomination decried the incident.
Charles and Te' Andrea Wilson, regular attendees at First Baptist Church in Crystal Springs, Mississippi, were forced to relocate their wedding this month at the last minute. Their pastor, Stan Weatherford, made the relocation request on behalf of some congregants who didn't want to see the couple married there, according to CNN affiliate WLBT.
Weatherford performed the ceremony at a nearby church.
At services on Sunday, the congregation's leadership addressed the controversy in a statement read to the church.
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) – Hurt. Devastated. Crushed.
Those are words an African-American couple used to describe how they felt when they were forced to change the venue of their wedding because of their race.
"Because of the fact that we were black, some of the members of the congregation had got upset and decided that no black couple would ever be married at that church," Charles Wilson told CNN on Sunday night.
"All we wanted to do in the eyes of God was to be man and wife in a church that we thought we felt loved. What was wrong with that?"
Charles and Te'Andrea Wilson had planned to marry this month at the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs in Mississippi, but were asked at the last minute to move.
Their pastor, Stan Weatherford, made the request on behalf of some congregants who didn't want to see the couple married there, according to CNN affiliate WLBT. He performed the ceremony at a nearby church.
"This was, had not, had never been done here before so it was setting a new (precedent) and there were those who reacted to that," Weatherford told WLBT.
"I didn't want to have a controversy within the church, and I didn't want a controversy to affect the wedding of Charles and Te' Andrea. I wanted to make sure their wedding day was a special day," he reportedly said.
By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
(CNN) – Depending who you ask, Yahoo's decision to hire Marissa Mayer several months into her pregnancy is either a boon to all working mothers or a misstep for the ailing tech company.
"Talk about lousy timing. She'll be taking maternity leave when she needs to be at work. Yahoo has enough problems without a part-time CEO," one commenter said in response to the Fortune article announcing news of her pregnancy.
"It is quite possible that she can do both effectively, but it is not un-'evolved' to express concern," another said, referring to Mayer's comment that Yahoo's directors demonstrated "evolved thinking" in choosing to hire a pregnant chief executive.
"As a Yahoo shareholder, I am very concerned and have every reason to be."
It's possible that Mayer anticipated these reactions when she revealed her plan to work during her maternity leave so she could "stay in the rhythm of things." Her announcement reignited an already hot debate over whether women can "have it all" and how family leave policies make it hard to juggle a successful career and family.
But Mayer isn't your typical working mother, and some believe her experience reflects the extreme demands that corporate America places on men and women alike and how that translates to national policy.
By Sarah LeTrent, CNN
(CNN) – Last week, powerhouse wedding gown designer Vera Wang announced that she and her husband of 23 years, Arthur Becker, were separating.
"Vera Wang and Arthur Becker have mutually and amicably agreed to separate. They remain devoted parents to their two daughters," Mario Grauso, the president of the Vera Wang Group, said in a statement to CNN.
The couple married in 1989 when Wang was a design director at Ralph Lauren and Becker was a stockbroker at Bear Stearns & Co. Before her tenure at Ralph Lauren, Wang worked at Vogue magazine for more than 15 years.
Wang, 63, launched her label in 1990, a year after her own wedding, with a prestigious Madison Avenue address on New York City's Upper East Side. She opened Bridal House Ltd., as it was called at the time, because she noticed something was missing from bridal gowns during her own wedding planning: art.
Tamara Albu, an associate professor of fashion design at Parsons The New School of Design, said Wang revolutionized the way people looked at the wedding gown; she upped the sophistication and made the gown an expression of a state of mind, not just a marker of a special occasion.
"She understands women who embrace fashion. In her case, she markets the wedding gown as a personification of love and beauty, not herself," she said.
However, Wang's recent announcement has caused speculation as to whether her fairy-tale aesthetic will be affected by her own not-so-happily-ever-after ending.
By Emanuella Grinberg and Hannah Weinberger, CNN
(CNN) - Artists Isabel and Ruben Toledo share a romantic magnetism that binds together their personal and professional lives. They finish each other's sentences; they encourage each other's fantastical whims. It's the kind of chemistry that creative types covet.
The Cuban-born Toledos met in high school in West Jersey, New York, and married in 1975. Since then, they have achieved success in their respective worlds: Isabel, as a fashion designer who counts Michelle Obama among her clients; and Ruben, as a cartoonist whose drawings have appeared in The New Yorker. They live and work together in a loft that takes up several floors in Midtown, New York, and offers a view of the Empire State Building.
Neither considers their ascent to fame conventional and, in many ways, they still regard themselves as outsiders in the fashion world. So, when Isabel was approached about writing a book of fashion advice for women, she seized it as an opportunity to tell the world that there is no straightforward path to success, especially as a designer.
Naturally, Ruben provided the drawings for "Roots of Style," which was published this year. And, of course, he was wearing a black jacket and pants designed by his wife when they visited Atlanta in May for a student auction at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
They spoke with CNN about love, life and labor.
By Carolyn Edgar, Special to CNN
(CNN) –Anne-Marie Slaughter’s much-discussed article in The Atlantic, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” contains an inconsistency: after describing all the reasons why she had to give up her “dream job,” Slaughter writes: “Only when women wield power in sufficient numbers will we create a society that genuinely works for all women. That will be a society that works for everyone.”
It’s hard to imagine how well the utopian society Slaughter describes will work for female leaders. Those women will still be forced to struggle with the challenges Slaughter describes of trying to hold a position at the top of one’s field while maintaining one’s commitments to family and community.
The truth is, no one – male or female – who wants to work at the top gets to “have it all.” No one gets to be CEO of a Fortune 100 corporation, or managing partner at an international law firm, or United States senator – or President–without making significant personal sacrifices.
I experienced this first hand. FULL POST
Editor's note: LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter: @locs_n_laughs
By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor
(CNN) - My heart was pounding so hard, it felt as if it were trying to break free from my body.
I couldn't breathe.
I felt dizzy and feverish, and my eyes stung from all of the sweat dripping into them.
And as I was desperately trying to figure out what was happening to me, I suddenly had this debilitating thought: My God, my son is trying to kill me.
Why else would he be running so fast? And so far?
When my 15-year-old asked if I would go jogging with him, I didn't think anything of it. We've worked out together many times before, and though it's been a while since we went running, I play basketball and tennis every week, so I'm in great shape ... for a guy my age.
But something unexpected happened somewhere between me laying him down in his bassinet and me being on the cusp of lying down on the sidewalk I was running on: We got older.
by Moni Basu, CNN
(CNN) - Marcie Fisher-Borne carries a power of attorney with her at all times. She has a will but has made videos of her wishes for her children just in case someone contests them.
What if she were to get in a car accident tomorrow? What would happen to her daughter, 4, and her 6-month-old son?
It's not that Fisher-Borne doesn't have a partner - she has been with Chantelle Fisher-Borne for 15 years. It's just that the state of North Carolina does not recognize same-sex marriage. Nor does it allow second-parent adoptions.
That means if Fisher-Borne were no longer capable of taking care of her children - she gave birth to her daughter, and her partner, Chantelle, carried their son - Chantelle Fisher-Borne would not be able to adopt their daughter.
The Fisher-Bornes were one of six couples listed in a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union that seeks to give full parental rights to same-sex couples.
Editor's note: Rose Arce is a senior producer at CNN and a contributor to Mamiverse, a website for Latinas and their families.
By Rose Arce, CNN
(CNN) - We began breakfast one recent morning delivering this news to Luna: Rosanna, her caregiver, was going on a two-week vacation. "Who is going to take care of me?" she asked. And then she gave me "the look." I call it pouty face. Her dime-sized brown eyes squeeze together, the lower lip rolls out, the hands ball up. Every time she looks like that, my crazy Mama Head empties of sugarplum fairies and fills with fears of pedophilia and child snatching.
We have had the same babysitter since Luna was born. Rosanna would step in front of a train for Luna. She is not easily replaced. But when Luna was a baby, we figured we had options. There is a reason God gave us mothers, tias (aunties), abuelitas (grandmothers) and the occasional BFF you call "co-madre" regardless of whether they are actually your kid's godmother and hence your "co-mother." The problem is every Latina in New York works until death. There is no cotton-topped Grandma on standby sitting in her house-dress feeding chickens.
I don't think all Latinas are so overprotective of their kids. But this one is.