Culture

World’s Oldest Person and Last American Born in the 1800s Dies at 116

Susannah Mushatt Jones, the oldest person on the planet, died Thursday night at age 116.   Jones, who loved ones affectionately called “Miss Susie,” died at a public housing facility for seniors in Brooklyn, New York where she has lived for over three decades.  She is the third American to have the title of oldest living person.

Jones, an African American woman, was born to a share cropper on a small farm near Montgomery Alabama in the late 1800s.  AP reports that she was one of eleven siblings, and attended a special school for black girls.  Ms. Jones graduated from high school in 1922, no small feat considering less than a fifth of Americans had high school diplomas in 1920.

After graduating Jones worked in the fields of her family’s farm picking crops for a year before leaving for her new life as a nanny in New Jersey.  Miss Susie’s journey ended in New York City, where she worked tirelessly for her community.  After moving to New York, AP reports Jones worked with a  group of old high school classmates to start a college scholarship fund for young African American women.  She was also active in her building’s tenant patrol until she was 106.

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Although Jones attributed her longevity to lots of sleep, never smoking or drinking and a daily serving of bacon, family members credit her long life to love of family, and a generous spirit.

The title for world’s oldest person now goes to Italy’s Emma Morano Martinuzz.  It is believed that Morano Martinuzz is now the last living person born in the 1800s.

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