It is a blessing to make it to 116 years old.

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Susannah Mushatt Jones passed away Thursday night [May 12] at her senior housing in Brooklyn, New York at 116. Jones was the last living American who survived the 19th century and held the reign of the oldest living person since April 1, 2015, when Misao Okawa died last year at 117 years.

Jones was born July 6, 1899 in a small town near Montgomery, Alabama where she was one of 11 siblings and outlived all of them. She graduated from a special school for young Black girls in 1922 and then migrated her way up to New Jersey, working in housekeeping and then moved to The Big Apple.


She also had a special admiration for children, said her niece Lois Judge in an interview with the Associated Press last year. Although she did not have any of her own, after moving to New York she collaborated with people she graduated from high school with to start a scholarship fund for young Black girls. Jones was still very active up until her early 100’s and beloved in her community; they called her “Miss Susie”.

Susannah Mushatt Jones passed her crown down to 116 year old Emma Morano, a women from Italy who is just a few months short of Jones, born on November 29, 1899. She is the oldest person in Europe (and now the world).