On Saturday, a Stone Mountain woman celebrated her 104th birthday with honks, beeps, and applause from her neighbors.
“I feel fine!” she told the television station. “I think I’ve lived to be this old because I was understanding, and I try to live right and do the right things.”
“Who has kept you this long?” Shaw was asked.
“Jesus Christ!” Shaw responded.
Winnell Cunningham Shaw saw her Antioch Villas Gardens Apartments neighbors gather together to celebrate her milestone.
Her neighbors describe her as a Southern beauty.
Shaw was born in Lawrenceville, Georgia, and has witnessed history like few others.
She relocated to Atlanta when she was 12 years old, when her mother and aunt died. Shaw went to Ashby Street Elementary School, the city’s largest African American public elementary school. She went on to graduate from Booker T. Washington High School, the state’s and Atlanta Public Schools’ first public high school for African Americans.
At the age of 23, Shaw married the love of her life. She and her husband Frank Shaw reared four children till he died.
Shaw was a community seamstress and a child caretaker throughout her life, earning her the moniker “Ms. Nell.” It takes a village, and Shaw was strongly committed to helping women raise their children, even delivering a friend’s child in 1961.
She now has 13 grandkids, who say they’ve cherished the times they’ve been able to sit down and listen to stories from “back in the day.”
Shaw gave up her job as a seamstress and now enjoys playing Gin Rummy and sketching. Neighbors said she draws practically every day and that the drawings are childish doodles.