What a completely delightful video of 106-year-old Virginia McLaurin visiting the White House and meeting President and Mrs. Obama. This is the Webster's definition of pure joy.
I don't know much about McLaurin's life story -- she's originally from South Carolina, first married at 14 -- but when she was 10, the Civil War had ended only 55 years earlier. As a child, she likely knew and talked with people who were former slaves. And now she's dancing with a black President in the White House. The Great Span continues to work its magic.
We've waited too long for a First Lady who can pull this off:
It's not just that Michelle Obama is the first black First Lady. It's also that she was born in 1964. She's sixteen-seventeen years younger than Hillary Clinton or Laura Bush. She was in high school when hip-hop broke. Even Barack was already in college. She probably did a few of these dances in a South Shore parking lot when her husband was already thinking about getting into law school. In Joshua Glenn's generational scheme, Barack is part of Original Generation X, while Michelle's firmly in the next cohort, alternately titled Generation PC/the Reconstructionists.
Michelle is the first First Lady of the hip-hop generation. And not only does that explain a few things; it's incredibly awesome.
PS: Here's the Beyonce dance-as-teen-fitness video the First Lady and DC junior high kids were trying to imitate. (In the mid-late 80s, learning a few of these moves from my sister, I was not unlike the chubby kid in the white hat.)
"[Michelle] is representative of how we have evolved and who we are," said Edward Ball, a historian who discovered that he had black relatives -- the descendants of his white slave-owning ancestors -- when he researched his memoir, "Slaves in the Family."
"We are not separate tribes of Latinos and whites and blacks in America," Mr. Ball said. "We've all mingled, and we have done so for generations."
I wonder how much of this Obama was aware of before being contacted by the Times for comment (she declined):
The findings -- uncovered by Megan Smolenyak, a genealogist, and The New York Times -- substantiate what Mrs. Obama has called longstanding family rumors about a white forbear.
There is a strong possibility that Barack will pursue a political career, although it's unclear. There is a little tension with that. I'm very wary of politics. I think he's too much of a good guy for the kind of brutality, the skepticism.