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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Oldest African-American Died Recently

Just a few days ago, the oldest African-American, Mississippi "Sweetie" Winn (a woman, not surprisingly) died at age 113. Despite her name, she lived most of her life in Louisiana. At the time of her death, she was the seventh-oldest living person in the world, according to Robert Young of the Gerontology Research Group in Los Angeles, which verifies information for Guinness World Records. Her great-niece Mary Hollins described her as:

"A strong-willed person, a disciplinarian" who believed that elders should be respected. "She was living on her own until she was 103," Hollins said, cooking for herself and taking walks. "She just believed she could handle anything."
Winn, who never married, was a caretaker of children and a cook. She lived nearly her entire life in Louisiana, though she resided in Seattle, Wash. from 1957 to 1975, Hollins said. She had been a member of Shreveport's Avenue Baptist Church since 1927 and used to say, "I am gonna stay here as long as he wants me to stay here."
"One of the reasons for her longevity was that she just kind of took things as they'd come, everyday life and living. She didn't let nothing upset her and get all hyped up by some of the things as we do," Hollins said.
More likely her long life was attributable to a good gene pool--her sister died 11 years ago at age 100. With her death, the title of oldest African-American passes to Mamie Rearden, 112, of Edgefield, South Carolina. The Gerontology Research Group indicates the world's oldest person currently is Eunice Sanborn, 114, of Jacksonville, Texas, which is consistent with the information at

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