feature: “this 116-year-old brooklyn woman is the world’s oldest person”

December 17, 2015

Meet Susannah Mushatt Jones, the oldest verified person in the world. The Brooklyn resident was born in Alabama on July 6, 1899, and became the world’s oldest person this year on June 17th (after the death of Jeralean Talley, who was six weeks older than her). Profiling the 116-year-old for NYMag, Christopher Bonanos writes: “One hundred and sixteen years ago, Susie’s tenant-­farmer father, Callie, could theoretically have voted, though Alabama’s poll taxes and rigged literacy tests pretty much took care of that. As for her mother, she was barred from the polls twice over, because voting rights for women were two decades off. Mary Mushatt had 11 children — Susie being the third and the oldest girl — and cooked on an open fire with water drawn from a well. Corn bread was baked by burying it in the fireplace’s ashes. The family raised their own produce and meat. Susie walked seven miles to what was then called the Calhoun Colored School, a private academy specializing in practical education. Her family paid the boarding-school tuition by barter: wood cut for the fire, bushels of corn they’d grown. Her relatives say she did not dwell on the bad aspects of the prewar South. Tee — family members call her that, short for “Auntie” — was the type to put her head down and keep moving. Which is what she did after graduation.” CLICK HERE to read more.

By Alexander Aplerku, AFROPUNK Contributor


Photo by Bobby Doherty