DC woman and sharecroppers’ daughter who danced with the Obamas, Virginia McLaurin, has died at age 113.
According to CBS, McLaurin died at her home in Olney, Md. on Nov. 14. She reportedly died of congestive heart failure, her son Felipe Cardoso confirmed. Her age was even calculated by her own accounting, as she didn’t own a birth certificate.
Prior to her death, McLaurin lived a very quiet life in Washington for decades. However, in February 2016, her life took an interesting turn when she joined a group of star-studded guests attending the White House. The guests had reportedly visited for a reception celebrating Black History Month.
As the DC woman entered the room where President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama awaited her arrival, she shouted, “Hi!” The president then held her arms and she began dancing in place with her cane in tow.
In Mr. Obama fashion, he asked McLaurin, “How are you?”
“I’m fine!” she responded while nodding her head.
The president then led McLaurin across the room to his wife and encouraged her to take it easy. “Slow down, now. Don’t go too quick!” he said.
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The three then danced together for a brief moment.
“I thought I would never live to get in the White House,” she excitedly said. She continued, saying she was “so happy” to see a Black president and first lady in the White House–a historic moment for African Americans.
“You have just made our day. You know that? That energy, man,” Mrs. Obama said.
McLaurin was born Virginia Lugenia Campbell and the daughter of Black sharecroppers in South Carolina: John Oliver Campbell and Flora Ella McQueen. Her birth date is still unclear, but she said it was written in a family Bible as Mar. 12, 1909. However, a 2016 letter from a vital records department in South Carolina indicated that she was born on Mar. 12, 1916.
“She had an extraordinary memory, sharing stories of family’s life as sharecroppers in South Carolina before traveling north in the Great Migration,” her family shared via a Facebook post. They also encouraged followers to “look for the Ms. McLaurin’s in your community!”
On McLaurin’s 107th birthday, WJA reported, the District of Columbia Council honored her with a Ceremonial Resolution “for her contributions as a foster grandparent, school volunteer, affordable housing advocate, seamstress, and au pair along with her outstanding years of public service in the District of Columbia.”