‘Happy Birthday’ teen event also has Troy connection

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Craig Huffman, who has roots in Troy, will be interviewed on CNN’s documentary, “Happy Birthday, Mrs. Obama” at 9 p.m. local time Friday on CNN.

Huffman is the son of the late Dr. Samuel Huffman, a Troy native, the grandson of the late Lucinda Segars and the nephew of Sarah Baker of Troy.

“Although I was not born in Troy, my roots run deep there and I continue to stay connected through my family in Troy,” Huffman said by telephone from his Chicago-based real estate investment firm. “I’ve spent a lot of summers in Troy and visit often, as recently as December. I welcome and embrace the fact that my roots are in Troy.”

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Huffman said having roots in a small town fostered his friendship with Michelle Obama.

“Twenty years ago, Mrs. Obama recruited me to come aboard Public Allies, a public service organization,” Huffman said. “She became almost like a sister to me.”

Huffman said his working relationship with Michelle Obama and the fact that she came from a modest background were, perhaps, the reasons that CNN chose him to be interviewed for her 50th birthday television special.

Huffman’s background is also modest. His dad, Samuel Huffman, completed his elementary and secondary education in Troy, where he was a member of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. He received a master’s degree in education from Alabama State University.

Samuel Huffman devoted his life to public service and helping others. He began his professional career as a high school educator in Union Springs and later moved to Chicago where he worked as a teacher for the Chicago Public Schools.

“Mrs. Obama came from a Chicago working class family and also used her education as a tool to achieve her goals,” Huffman said.

Like Huffman’s dad, Michelle Obama has dedicated her life to public service and helping others.

Huffman was inspired and motivated by the examples of his father and the First Lady.

“Michelle Obama is a down-to-earth person who understands the working class people,” he said. “She is a humble person. She doesn’t forget the little people. The gap between the haves and the have nots is increasing and the First Lady works to close that gap.”