Today, the oldest person in the entire world is turning 116. Born in 1899 — that is, the 19th century — Susannah Mushatt Jones of Brooklyn is breaking an amazing record. Let's put her age in context: Ms. Jones — or "T," as she's called by her more than 100 nieces and nephews — is 16 years younger than the Brooklyn Bridge and 32 years older than the Empire State Building. She was born 21 years before the 19th amendment allowed women to vote, 66 years before the Voting Rights Act began eliminating unjust barriers at our nation's polls, and 90 years before the invention of the World Wide Web. When she was four years old, the Wright Brothers took their first flight. Though Ms. Jones reportedly never partied, this birthday won't go uncelebrated. This morning, Guinness World Records presented her with a certificate acknowledging her achievement. According to Guinness, a birthday gathering of friends and family is scheduled for today, and a larger community event is planned for tomorrow. Via Twitter this morning, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio sent his best.
Ms. Jones was born in Lowndes County, Alabama. She completed high school and married briefly. She never had her own children, but worked as a childcare professional and put much of her salary towards a college scholarship for African-American students. When Ms. Jones was 100, she lost her eyesight as a result of glaucoma. She is also hard of hearing. Nevertheless, she takes only two daily medications — one for blood pressure and the other a multivitamin. She has lived in Brooklyn's Vandalia Senior Center for more than 30 years. Every morning, Ms. Jones eats four strips of bacon, and sometimes hides one in her pocket for later. Then, she has eggs and grits. "Miss Susie loves her gum, Miss Susie loves her barbecue chicken, Miss Susie loves her bacon, and if you take any of the three away you will be told off," Taheera Mushatt, her niece, told ABC-7 on her aunt's 115th birthday last year. One of Ms. Jones' other nieces, Lavilla Mushatt Watson, wrote a book about her, entitled Susannah Our Incredible 114-Year-Old Aunt. And while her family says she's hesitant to spend money on herself and prefers giving it to others, Miss Susie has been known to head to Bloomingdale's to stock up on beautiful lace lingerie, Time revealed. Cheers to a life well lived! And Miss Susie, when we're 116, we hope to be as incredible as you are.