She was born in South Carolina in 1909.
106-year-old Virginia McLaurin was so excited to meet the Obamas in the White House last week, she couldn’t stop dancing. McLaurin was invited as part of a Black History Month celebration. “I thought I would never live to get into the White House and I tell you I am so happy to have a black president,” she said to a beaming president and first ady.
McLaurin, who turns 107 on March 12, was born in segregated South Carolina in 1909 when African-Americans lived under the yoke of Jim Crow laws and black codes. In 1941, she moved to Washington, D.C., where she has lived ever since. Two years ago, at the young age of 104, she posted a video on YouTube in which she asked to meet the president. “I would love to meet the president. Oh, I would love to meet the whole family,” she says in the video. “I didn’t think I’d ever live to see a colored president. I’m so happy, I pray for you every day of my life.”
After seven years of seeing the Obamas in the White House, it’s easy for many to forget the historical significance of the election and re-election of the first black president of the United States. But the elation shown on the face (and in the feet!) of McLaurin is a visceral reminder of the events’ importance.