A New York woman has celebrated her 114th birthday – making her the oldest person in America.
Alelia Murphy, of Harlem, credits her long and happy life with ‘living in moderation, treating people right and blessings from God’.
She was born in Grifton, North Carolina on July 6, 1905 – the same year that Theodore Roosevelt was inaugurated as President and Albert Einstein proposed the Theory of Relativity.
Murphy moved to Harlem in 1926, where she has now been a resident for 98 years.
She started her celebrations yesterday when she was wheeled into the Harlem State Office building. She waved at the packed crowd gathered to mark the countdown to her birthday and later clapped during the ‘Happy Birthday’ song.
She beamed in a sunshine-yellow dress accessorized with a corsage, white lace gloves and a ruffle bag.
The centenarian who appears full of life, remarkably only takes vitamins and medication for her thyroid, unaffected by other issues according to the NY Daily News.
‘No high blood pressure, no hypertension, no diabetes, nothing like that,’ said her granddaughter Nefer Nekhet.
‘She said her secret is moderation, she eats two vegetables with her meal every night and she says she does things in moderation.
‘God blessing her that’s the secret to be revealed.’
Daughter Rose Green is overwhelmed with her mother’s longevity, maintaining that it’s even more special as she is still in her ‘right mind.’
‘I can’t believe it. It’s wonderful,’ Green told Fox4. ‘We can hold conversations, we laugh, have fun.’
Words can’t even express how I feel right now,’ granddaughter Crystal Lewis said. ‘I’m so overwhelmed.’
Murphy who celebrates her birthday today, will be the eighth oldest person in the world according to the Gerontology Research Group, who verifies age for Guinness World Records.
The others are only five women from Japan and two from France, who are older than her in the world.
She is believed to be the oldest living woman in America after the previous titleholder Lessie Brown of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, died in January at the age of 114.
Murphy is also one of 33 people living over 110 years-old, dubbed the ‘supercentarians,’ all of whom are female.
This includes Kane Tanaka from Japan, who at 116-years-old is the oldest person in the world.
One of 12 children, Murphy moved from North Carolina to Harlem in 1926, where she would go onto raise two children after her husband who passed away.
During her years working, she garnered the nickname ‘The Queen of Sales’ while working at Full Brush Company, according to Daily News.
The grandmother-of-two has lived through many important world events including two World Wars and seen more than 19 Presidents in the White House.
Murphy was as a big fan of Barrack Obama, the nation’s first African American president, who she referred to as ‘her guy,’ reports the Daily News, even donating to his campaigns twice.
She was born seven years before the Titanic sank, nine years before the beginnings of the First World War and two decades before television was invented.
In her younger years, Murphy would design hats and loved to dance.
Another favored pastime and skill she passed onto her grandchildren was baking, teaching them to make apple pies from scratch.
Nekhet said: ‘She taught me how to do things right the first time… And I’ve been married for 25 years, so I listened to Grandma.’
Despite needing to take a nap during her pre-birthday celebrations on Friday, Murphy still appears to have a lot of life left in her yet.
‘She is still feisty,’ visiting nurse Natalie Mhlambiso told the New York Post. ‘She will let you know when she wants to be left alone.
‘There are many good patients but she is different in temperament, in who she is, her distinctive age. At her age, this is rare. This is history.
‘I just admire her — for her to be that age and still communicating well,” she said.
Mhlambiso said it’s been ‘the joy of my life as a visiting nurse’ to take care of her.
The nurse claims that Murphy insists her belief in God and taking ‘good care of people’ as being part of the reason for her long life.
This combined with Murphy never drinking alcohol and growing-up down South, where it’s believed she would regularly eat ‘homegrown food.’
Now during twice-weekly visits she nurse insists she ‘eats’ and ‘drinks well.’ And despite not liking water, she’s a fan of sweet treats.
‘She tells you she wants something like soda, ice cream, chocolate,’ Mhlambiso added. ‘She is in good health for her age, definitely!’
During the ceremony, State Senator Brian Benjamin said that July 6 will be forever known in Harlem as ‘Amelia Murphy Day.’
‘We are looking at a Harlem landmark,’ Benjamin told the Daily News.
Reverend Dr. C. Vernon Mason added, ‘Alelia Murphy is love, patience in slow motion.’