Virginia McLaurin first made headlines with a delight-filled trip to the White House in February 2016 where she met the president and the first lady
It’s been three years since she cut a rug in the White House but Barack and Michelle Obama have not forgotten about Virginia McLaurin, also known as “Grandma Virginia” or “D.C.’s favorite centenarian,” according to the local news.
McLaurin, who was born in South Carolina in 1909, turned 110 on Tuesday, TV station WJLA reports.
The former first lady wished her a happy celebration on Instagram, re-sharing an image of their meeting in 2016.
“Still dancing at 110 years old—happy birthday, Virginia!” Mrs. Obama wrote.
McLaurin first made headlines with a delight-filled trip to the Blue Room for Black History Month in February 2016 where she met the president and the first lady, giving them both big hugs.
“I want to be like you when I grow up,” Mrs. Obama told her, to which McLaurin replied, “You can.”
“I thought I would never live to get in the White House, and I tell you I am so happy,” she told the Obamas at the time. “A black president and a black wife. And I’m here to celebrate black history.”
This year, according to WJLA, she plans to have a meal at her local TGI Friday’s with family and others in her church.
“They feel like maybe it’s too much for me,” McLaurin told the station. “They said we want to keep her as long as we can.” (“As far as I can see, I’m the oldest thing in the District,” she said with a laugh.)
McLaurin has lived in Washington, D.C., since 1941. According to WJLA, her birthday wish is to meet the D.C. mayor.
In December 2014, McLaurin recorded a video message to the president, saying, “I would love to meet [him] … I didn’t think I’d ever live to see a colored president. I am so happy, I pray for you every day of my life.”
Five years later, her trip to the White House still surprises her.
“I met a black president and a black wife. That’s me,” she told WJLA with audible awe. “I was so scared because I was raised in the South. I didn’t know what to do.”