NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A special birthday celebration was held in Harlem for the oldest living person in the United States.
Surrounded by family and wearing a crown, Alelia Murphy celebrated her 114th birthday – continuing her reign as the oldest living person in the country.
“She credits it to moderation, living in moderation,” her granddaughter Nefer Nekhat said.
“She says God, he’s the one who let her stay here so long,” her daughter Rose Adams added.
Murphy was born in North Carolina in 1905 when Theodore Roosevelt was president. She moved to New York in 1926, at the height of the Harlem renaissance.
After her husband died at an early age, Murphy raised their two children by herself while working as a seamstress and a renowned salesperson.
“She says no time to sleep, sleep when you’re dead, do what you gotta do while you’re woke,” her daughter said.
“She always put family first,” Nekhat told CBS2’s Ali Bauman.
Her birthday gift at the party Friday came from state senator Brian Benjamin, who declared Alelia’s birthday – July 6 – will now be known in Harlem as “Alelia Murphy Appreciation Day.”
“She was part of the movement of African Americans to Harlem… Lived in Harlem through it all, through the good and the bad,” Benjamin said.
“She’s still here, she’s still strong, and she holds our family together,” Adams said.
The 114-year-old’s family said Murphy has always strongly believed in being financially independent and was still paying her own bills until she was 90 years-old.