Virginia McLaurin, one of D.C.’s most famous citizens, who exuberantly danced with the Obamas at age 106, died Monday, according to a statement from her family.
She was 113.
McLaurin gained international fame when she visited the White House in 2016 for a Black History Month reception and spontaneously broke into dance when she met briefly with President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. Video of the heartwarming encounter went viral.
The statement from her family posted on Facebook said McLaurin had been under hospice care for a few days and died at home Monday morning.
“She lived an incredibly full life and appreciated all the love she received from people,” the statement said.
After McLaurin’s White House visit, she became a D.C. celebrity. She was honored with a resolution by the D.C. Council in 2016 for her decades of community service — her family said she regularly volunteered 40 hours a week at area schools — and also spent some time on the court with the Harlem Globetrotters in 2018.
During the pandemic, her busy calendar had slowed, but her family regularly posted updates on Facebook.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser marked McLaurin’s passing on Twitter.
Today, we join Virginia McLaurin’s family and friends in mourning her passing. We celebrate the remarkable life of service Mrs.McLaurin lived over the course of her 113 years among us. May she rest well. pic.twitter.com/1meHTh5Cc4
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) November 15, 2022
In a tweet, D.C. Council member Janeese Lewis George remembered McLaurin as a “beloved Ward 4 community member, tireless DC schools volunteer, fearless tenant leader, and a devoted foster grandparent.” She added, “Ms. Virginia will forever be remembered for her passion for service and infectious joy.”
McLaurin’s family is raising money on GoFundMe to help with a memorial service.
McLaurin was born in South Carolina in 1909, and came to D.C. as part of the Great Migration, which saw millions of African Americans move north during the early part of the 20th century. She came to the attention of the White House after she began posting oral history videos sharing her memories, according to the GoFundMe page.
“In addition to providing support here, we encourage you to look out for the other Ms. McLaurins in your neighborhood,” the page stated. “There are elders in every community who give back to the community and could use some support. They also have stories to tell.”