Little Known Black History Fact: Louisiana Hines

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  • 113-year-old Louisiana Hines, the black woman who held the Guiness World Record as the oldest American, has passed away. The Detroit native owned a beauty shop, served as a riveter in World War II and helped to run a restaurant in her lifetime.

    Louisiana Summerlin was born on a farm in Luverne, Alabama. She had six other siblings and her grandfather was a slave. She was always told by her mother that an obedient child will live a long time, so she lived to be obedient for her mother and for God. She married Arthur Hines in 1918. During WWII, she took a job as a riveter at an airplane factory.

    There was often a toss-up between she and Mamie Rearden of South Carolina, who died last month at 114 years old. The Census reported that Hines was born in April 1899, but her family has a birth certificate saying she was born in 1898. That birth certificate wasn’t available, however, until 1940 so there was always a question as to her actual birth year.

    Regardless of her birth year, Hines held the record as the world’s sixth oldest living person, the second oldest living American and oldest living African American. The oldest living person is a Japanese man named Jiroemon Kimura, who is 115 years old.

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