Tributes pour in after Virginia McLaurin, who went viral grooving with Obamas in White House, dies at 113

'I thought I would never live to get in the White House. And I tell you, I am so happy,' Virginia McLaurin told the Obamas in 2016

Tributes pour in after Virginia McLaurin, who went viral grooving with Obamas in White House, dies at 113
Virginia McLaurin danced with Barack and Michelle Obama in 2016 at the White House (Virginia McLaurin/Facebook)
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OLNEY, MARYLAND: Virginia McLaurin, the centenarian who enthusiastically danced with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in 2016 at the White House, died at the age of 113 early Monday, November 15, at her home in Olney, Maryland. McLaurin's son, Felipe Cardoso Jr, announced the news in a statement on Tuesday, November 16. Many including the Obamas paid last respects to McLaurin on Twitter. “Rest in peace. We know you're up there dancing," Barack and Michelle Obama wrote.

“I told 106-year-old Virginia McLaurin 'I want to be just like you one day'," the former first lady had said when she met McLaurin in 2016.

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In February 2016, when she was 106 years old, McLaurin attended a Black History Month reception at the White House. McLaurin exclaimed “Hi” as she was introduced to the then-president. "You want to say hi to Michelle?" Obama asked. "Yes!" McLaurin replied while moving quickly to give the first lady a hug. The President told her, "Slow down now. Don't go too quick." He then clutched McLaurin's arm as the women began an unexpected dance while holding hands. 

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She told the Obamas, "I thought I would never live to get in the White House. And I tell you, I am so happy. A Black president. A Black wife! And I'm here to celebrate Black history. Yeah, that's what I'm here for." McLaurin had been unable to obtain an ID card since she was born on March 12, 1909, in South Carolina without a birth certificate. After the encounter, she was advised to contact the mayor's office, and soon after, municipal officials in Washington gave her a temporary ID and announced new rules that would provide those aged 70 and older more options for IDs. 

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Later that year, McLaurin appeared at a Washington Nationals baseball game and was presented with a team jersey on the field. According to NBC News, the daughter of a sharecropper, McLaurin volunteered at schools for decades after retiring. She was also a foster grandma and a mentor to students with special needs, assisting children with reading and social skills. One such person who was adopted by McLaurin when he was only 3 revealed to NBC News, “She was just so carefree. She said her secret to life was not to worry, so she never let things worry her. She just didn’t pay it no mind. She loved and cared for everybody. She definitely had a big heart for the kids.”

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“This week we said goodbye to Virginia McLaurin at age 113. She was a beloved Ward 4 community member, tireless DC schools volunteer, fearless tenant leader, and a devoted foster grandparent. Ms. Virginia will forever be remembered for her passion for service and infectious joy,” DC Council member Janeese Lewis George wrote. "Seeing Virginia McLaurin burst with sincere excitement at age 106 was a sight I’ll never, EVER forget! 😭After going viral with her delightful reaction to meeting the Obamas at the White House, she kept going — and rang in birthday #113. RIP, legend! 🌟" another added. 

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