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106-Year-Old Dances for Joy Over 'Black' President


Virginia McLaurin dances with President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama during a visit to the White House. She is 106 years old.

Virginia McLaurin dances with President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama during a visit to the White House. She is 106 years old.


This is What’s Trending Today.

By the time you get to be 106, you have seen and done a lot.

And Virginia McLaurin is almost 107.

But last week, McLaurin did something for the first time.

She went to the White House. There, she met President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.

She said it was something she never thought she would be able to do.

“I thought I would never get in the White House,” McLaurin said, in a video posted on the White House’s Facebook page over the weekend.

McLaurin is an African-American resident of Washington, D.C. She was born in 1909 in South Carolina.

A video of her celebrating Black History Month with the Obamas last week got people giddy on social media. Black History Month is celebrated every February, and it recognizes the contributions African-Americans make to the world.

More than 25 million people have seen the video since it was released Sunday night. The video was shared nearly 500,000 times on Facebook. McLaurin and the Obamas are two of Monday’s top trending subjects on Twitter.

The video shows McLaurin coming to meet President Obama and Michelle Obama. While posing for a picture after they are introduced, McLaurin says: “I am so happy. A black president, yay! A black wife! And I’m here to celebrate black history.”

People wrote messages of support, calling the video “fantastically uplifting,” and saying watching the video “will make your day.”

One man from Brazil wrote: “She lived to see two World Wars, the height of racial segregation, and finally, an elected black president.”

The Washington Post reports that McLaurin submitted a petition to the White House in 2014, asking to meet with Obama. She wrote about all the things she remembered from her life – like living without electricity and first Ford car she saw coming off the assembly line.

“I didn’t think I would live to see a Colored President,” she wrote. “I know you are a busy man, but I wish I could meet you.”

And when McLaurin finally met the Obamas, she danced with joy.

“So what’s the secret to still dancing at 106?” President Obama asked.

McLaurin did not answer. She was so excited, she just kept on dancing.

And that’s What’s Trending Today.

I’m Anna Matteo.

Dan Friedell wrote this story for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

How would you feel if your nation elected a president whose race, class or gender was once banned from the presidency? Write to us in the Comments Section and on our Facebook page.

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Words in This Story

giddy – adj. excited, playful and silly

fantastic – adj. extremely good

petition – n. a written document that people sign to show that they want a person or organization to do or change something

segregation – n. the practice or policy of keeping people of different races, religions, etc., separate from each other

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