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Harlem woman becomes oldest living person in US at 114

Posted at 10:15 PM, Jul 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-05 22:15:36-04

HARLEM - A special honor and a big birthday bash Friday in Harlem. Harlem's favorite supercentenarian, Mrs. Alelia Murphy turns 114 years young on July 6th and becomes the oldest living person in the entire country!

"This is Harlem history, this is family history we are standing here with a Harlem landmark, a Harlem icon - Mrs. Alelia Murphy," said State Sen. Brian Benjamin. Her age has been validated by the Gerontology Research Group

The party was held on the second floor of the Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office Building. Among those paying tribute are elected officials, including Sen. Benjamin, who represents Upper Manhattan. The party was thrown by the African American Caucus of 1199SEIU. Mrs. Murphy's daughter, Rose Green, is a retired 1199 member.

"I'm so proud of her and so glad to have her as long as I have have," said Green. Green says she calls and or sees her mother daily, and refers to her as her best friend.

Mrs. Murphy was born into a family of 12 children in North Carolina. She moved to Harlem because she wanted to be a part of the Harlem renaissance in the 1920s. She lost her husband early - a widow since 1953 - she raised her daughter, Ms. Green, and a son who pre-deceased her. Murphy became a respected resident of Harlem, getting involved in her church and other community organizations.

"My grandmother, her strength I don't know where she gets it from but she has been through so many things, she is the glue that holds this family together," one of her granddaughters, Nefer Nekhet, tells PIX11. "We ask her Grandma, you been here for a very long time and she said I'm here because you all don't know how to live, I'm here to teach you all how to live and things to do!"

Nekhet says the spirited 114-year-old has no ailments and is aware she is the oldest living American. "She's excited, she said she must be blessed because the lord kept her here for so long."

When asked what is her secret to living a long life, Mrs. Murphy has said simply "Trust in God and be a good person."