Virginia McLaurin, the 107-year-old dancing kween who captured hearts back in February when she danced with the Obamas in the White House, is reportedly unable to obtain a government-issued photo ID.
According to The Washington Post, via Talking Points Memo, McLaurin was invited to media interviews all over the country following her viral meeting with the Obamas—but was unable to travel because she has no photo ID. Why not? Well, in order to obtain identification, McLaurin would have to get a birth certificate from South Carolina, which, in a depressingly unsurprising bureaucratic twist, she cannot get without an ID.
“I was birthed by a midwife and the birthday put in a Bible somewhere,” McLaurin told the Post. “I don’t know if they even had birth certificates back then.”
McLaurin was born in 1909, and at that point and for many decades following, many low-income black women in the South gave birth in the home rather than in hospitals, where they often were not welcome. This has resulted in horrific circumstances like those faced by Philadelphia’s Gloria Cuttino, profiled by the Philadelphia Inquirer, who was also born in South Carolina and can’t access Social Security benefits, subsidized housing, receive medical benefits, open bank accounts, have surgery, board planes, or even ride some buses.
McLaurin can vote without an ID in D.C., where she lives, but expressed anger at the idea that others in states with more restrictive voter ID laws have been stripped of that right.
“I’d pray long and hard to my God if they ever tried to do something like that to me,” she told the Post.