On July 12, 2013, New York City celebrated the 114th birthday of its oldest resident – Susannah Mushatte Jones, a.k.a. Miss Susie, of Brooklyn.
Not only is she New York’s oldest resident, Miss Susie is the third oldest person on the planet, according to the Gerontology Research Group. Miss Susie credited her longevity to a life of no alcohol, smoking, or partying, but she does enjoy time with friends, staying active through the Vandalia Senior Center of Brooklyn, and relatives, including over 100 nieces and nephews.
Born in Alabama in 1899 and among 11 children of her family, Miss Susie pushed through segregation of the south to graduate from high school, according to the New York Department of Aging. Upon graduation she taught for a few months before moving to New Jersey in 1922 to work for a family as a nanny. A year later she moved to New York and began working for another family in Westchester. Her work with the families gave her a chance to go to Hollywood, where she met many stars and was able to support her family with a higher level of wages than she could’ve imagined for the time period. She went on to retire in 1965 amid the height of the civil rights movement.
Despite losing her sight 13 years ago and being partially deaf, Miss Susie continues to be a fixture of her local senior center center and a great role model to the many children who visit her from Millennium Development’s OST (Out of School Time) programs. She is also a testament to independence as she still resides in the Vandalia Houses, one of the New York City Housing Authority’s public housing facilities.
Happy birthday and many more Miss Susie!