Updated: February 23, 2016, 9:34 AM ET
Overnight Internet sensation, 106-year-old Virginia McLaurin – who grew up picking and shucking cotton in South Carolina – says she can die with a smile on her face after meeting President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House, writes the Washington Post.
The meeting, two years in the making, came Thursday during a Black History Month celebration at the White House. The event was attended by lawmakers, celebrities, activists, community leaders, and members of the media.
In 2014, a friend submitted a petition requesting the meeting at the White House with a note from McLaurin, who lives in Washington, D.C. “I know you are a busy man, but I wish I could meet you,” she said, writes the Post. “I would love to meet you. I could come to your house to make things easier. I pray to the Lord that I would be able to meet you one day.”
The Post interviewed her after the encounter:
“I was so happy to meet the Black president,” she said. “I was so happy to shake his hand, and his wife was so nice. It was the joy of my entire life. I can die smiling now.”
McLaurin was born in South Carolina in 1909 at a time when slavery was still a fresh memory and African American kids in the South didn’t go to school past eighth grade. She married young, just 13, a fact she’s bashful to share. She lived briefly with her husband in northern New Jersey before he was killed in a bar brawl, and she moved to Washington to be with her sister in 1939.
She had two children — her son has since passed, and her daughter is 83 years old — and did domestic work for families in Silver Spring, Md. She also managed a laundry shop when women weren’t allowed to handle the men’s suits.
We’re so proud of the president and First Lady for meeting with McLaurin. She more than deserved it.
SOURCE: Washington Post | VIDEO CREDIT: Washington Post
Virginia McLaurin, of Washington, D.C., has lived to see a lot of things during her 106 years on earth, but never did she expect to pay a visit to the White House.
Well, she did last week during a Black History Month celebration, hosted on Thursday by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Goodness, did she celebrate – shimmying as she held both their hands and sang their praises.
“She’s 106?” the president can be heard asking in a video that was uploaded to the White House’s Facebook page late Sunday. By 8:30 a.m. Monday, the video received 21 million views.
“No, you are not,” the First Lady joked, adding: “I want to be like you when I grow up.”
From the Washington Post:
“I thought I would never live to get in the White House,” said McLaurin, who was born in 1909 in South Carolina, worked as a seamstress for most of her life and has been a widow for more than 70 years.
But her amazement went beyond merely making it inside the hallowed building. She was particularly bowled over to be meeting America’s first African American president.
“I tell you, I am so happy,” she said, looking up at Obama before turning to the first lady. “A black president, yay, and his black wife.”
The Post reports that the meeting occurred after more than a year of social media campaigns on behalf of McLaurin, including submitting a petition to the White House asking to meet with the president.
SOURCE: The Washington Post | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty | VIDEO CREDIT: Facebook