Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Virginia McLaurin, 107 years old

I recently photographed Virginia McLaurin as part of a series on our community's seniors I am doing in collaboration with TERRIFIC Inc.

Ms. McLaurin is 107 years old, and recently delighted the nation when she met and danced with President and Mrs. Obama. She told them that she "represented black history" and wanted to meet the president.

She was born in South Carolina in 1909, and in her childhood knew people who had been slaves themselves. In her early days she grew up on a farm, without electricity or cars, and said her parents, who were sharecroppers, were treated pretty much the same as if they had still been in slavery. She recounted tales of inequity and segregation, and of redemption and belonging in the church.

She was one of eight girls and three boys. One of her older sisters is still alive.

She is a real delight, with amazing happy energy and an infectious high-energy sense of humor. She laughs long, loud, and often, delighting in life. A retired dry cleaner, she is still quite active in her church, and volunteers as a teacher at a nearby charter school near her home in Washington, DC.

Many thanks for this opportunity to Ms. McLaurin, her daughter-in law, plus Sandra Brewer, Krista Collins, and Edwinta Jenkins (the interviewers and coordinator from TERRIFIC Inc.).

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