AP

Virginia McLaurin, who danced with the Obamas, dies at 113

Nov 15, 2022, 4:51 PM | Updated: 8:04 pm

OLNEY, Md. (AP) — Virginia McLaurin, the centenarian who danced excitedly with President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama during a 2016 White House visit, has died. She was 113.

McLaurin’s son, Felipe Cardoso Jr., said Tuesday that she died early Monday at her home in Olney, Maryland.

“Rest in peace, Virginia,” the Obamas wrote on Twitter. “We know you’re up there dancing.”

McLaurin visited the White House for a Black History Month reception in February 2016, when she was 106.

“Hi!” McLaurin squealed as she was introduced to the president.

“You want to say hi to Michelle?” Obama asked.

“Yes!” McLaurin said, moving quickly to give the first lady a hug.

“Slow down now!” the president said. “Don’t go too quick.”

The women then held hands as they went into an impromptu dance, the president holding McLaurin’s arm.

“I thought I would never live to get in the White House,” she said. “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.”

Video of the encounter quickly spread online, garnering international news coverage. After the brief meeting, McLaurin told reporters: “I could just die happy.”

Deborah Menkart, a friend who helped arrange McLaurin’s 2016 visit, said it dramatically changed her life. She said McLaurin was living “very frugally” at the time but her fame spurred people to donate to a care fund for her.

“She got a new wig, she got new teeth, she was able to move to a better apartment,” Menkart said.

Later that year McLaurin appeared at a Washington Nationals baseball game and was presented with a team jersey on the field.

McLaurin also used her fame to help others.

Born March 12, 1909, in South Carolina without a birth certificate, McLaurin had been unable to get an ID card. Shortly after the White House visit, Menkart suggested they contact the mayor’s office and the Washington Post, which interviewed her and published a story.

Washington city officials soon issued her a temporary card and announced new regulations giving residents 70 and older more options to get IDs.

“It changed her life for not only herself, but also the clout she had,” Menkart said.

A sharecropper’s daughter, McLaurin spent decades upon retirement doing volunteer work at schools. According to the Obama White House archives, she was a foster grandparent and a mentor to special-needs students, helping children with reading and social skills.

“She was just so carefree,” Cardoso said. “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.”

Cardoso said McLaurin adopted him when he was 3.

“She loved and cared for everybody,” he said. “She definitely had a big heart for the kids.”

Cardoso said funeral arrangements were pending.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday...

Associated Press

Some in Houston facing no power for weeks after storms cause widespread damage, killing at least 4

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday, May 17. Thunderstorms hit the southeastern part of Texas, killing at least four people.

10 hours ago

Man gets 30 years in prison for attacking ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer...

Associated Press

Man gets 30 years in prison for attacking ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer

A man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for attacking the husband of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with a hammer.

10 hours ago

audio from President Joe Biden’s interview about classified documents blocked...

Associated Press

GOP advances Garland contempt charges after White House exerts executive privilege over Biden audio

The move to release audio from President Joe Biden’s interview about classified documents was blocked on Thursday by the White House.

1 day ago

Asylum processing for new migrants: Changes could come soon...

Associated Press

The Biden administration is planning more changes to quicken asylum processing for new migrants

The Biden administration is planning to quicken the asylum processing for new migrants as an interim step rather than an executive order.

2 days ago

Record-setting rally for U.S. stocks reflects inflation slowing down...

Associated Press

Stock market today: Asian shares advance after another round of Wall St records

The S&P 500 jumped 1.2% to top its prior high set a month and a half ago. This move reflects a record-setting rally for U.S. stocks.

2 days ago

This combo image shows President Joe Biden, left, Jan. 5, 2024, and Republican presidential candida...

Associated Press

Biden and Trump agree to hold presidential debates in June and in September

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have agreed to hold two campaign debates, on June 27 hosted by CNN and on Sept. 10 hosted by ABC.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Virginia McLaurin, who danced with the Obamas, dies at 113