WASHINGTON (Christian Examiner) — "I thought I would never live to get into the White House," 106-year-old Virginia McLaurin beamed up to President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama recently.
The African American woman's dream to visit the White House came true during Black History Month when the D.C. resident who was born in South Carolina in 1909.
"Slow down," Obama told the woman, laughing, as she rushed to give Michelle Obama a hug.
Michelle Obama told her: "I want to be like you when I grow up."
"What's the secret to still dancing at 106," President Obama asked as the trio circled the room, with the Obamas reaching down to hold McLaurin's hands.
Slowing down long enough to face the cameras only momentarily, the woman looked intently up into the president's face and 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!"
On the White House Facebook page, one man sent "hugs from Brazil," said: "She lived to see two World Wars, the height of racial segregation, and finally an elected black president."
A 2014 letter McLaurin wrote to the president is part of a citizen's petition dated Dec. 19, 2014:
Dear President Obama,
My name is Virginia McLaurin, I live in Washington DC. I was born in 1909. I've never met a President. I didnt think I would live to see a Colored President because I was born in the South and didn't think it would happen. I am so happy and I would love to meet you and your family if I could.
I remember the times before President Hoover.I remember when we didn't have any electricity. I had a kerosene lamp. I remember the first car model Ford.My husband was in the Army. I lost my husband in 1941. I've been in DC ever since. I was living here when Martin Luther King was killed.
I know you are a busy man, but I wish I could meet you. 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.
President Obama, in celebrating Black History Month, wrote: "Our responsibility as citizens is to address the inequalities and injustices that linger, and we must secure our birthright freedoms for all people. As we mark the 40th year of National African American History Month, let us reflect on the sacrifices and contributions made by generations of African Americans, and let us resolve to continue our march toward a day when every person knows the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."