America’s oldest woman has just turned 114.
Serenaded by family and friends with Stevie Wonder’s classic take on “Happy Birthday,” Alelia Murphy reached the milestone on July 6. To mark the occasion, New York State Senator Brian Benjamin declared the date be known as Alelia Murphy Day in Harlem.
What’s her secret to longevity? Her granddaughter Nefer Nekhat dished to WCBS.
“She says God, he’s the one who let her stay here so long.”
Murphy was born in North Carolina in 1905, when President Teddy Roosevelt was in his second term, the average worker earned about 22 cents an hour and only 8% of homes had telephones, according to Chatfield Heritage.
Part of the movement of African Americans to Harlem
In 1926, she moved to Harlem. After her husband died young, she went on to raise her two daughters by herself, working as a seamstress and a renowned saleswoman to make ends meet.
“She was part of the movement of African Americans to Harlem,” Benjamin told WCBS. “She lived in Harlem through it all, through the good and the bad.”
Murphy currently lives with one of her granddaughters and a home health aide. According to WPIX, Murphy never drank but has a sweet tooth for ice cream, soda and chocolate. She also continues to lead an active lifestyle.
The Gerontology Research Group confirms Murphy’s age.
Only six other women in the world are older than Murphy. They in Japan and France. Since 1990, the collective of researchers has been tracking supercentenarians — people who live to 110 years or older.