111-year-old Atlanta woman reveals her secret to long life

ATLANTA — An Atlanta woman, one of the oldest living persons in the entire nation, is looking back on a remarkable life.

When Willie Mae Hardy was born on March 11, 1908, Theodore Roosevelt was president. She lived through World War I, World War II, Jim Crow and the civil rights movement.

Hardy, the granddaughter of a slave, was raised in Talbot County. She was in elementary school during World War I. In her early 20s, during the Great Depression, she married and moved to the Atlanta area at the outbreak of World War II.

"She's really been through a lot, and she's seen a lot. So we just cherish every moment we have with her," her granddaughter Veronica Edwards said.

Edwards takes care of Hardy in a small east Atlanta home where Hardy has lived since the 1960s.


"She has endured so much in her life," Edwards said. "You hear about people talk about civil rights?  She is civil rights, growing up in the Jim Crow era."

When asked what was her secret to living so long, Hardy responded, "Trusting in the good Lord."

In her home, Hardy has cherished momentos, including a birthday card from former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama.

Hardy met Michelle Obama earlier this year.

"We love you. We appreciate you. We couldn't do without you. I love you, grandmomma,” Edwards told Hardy before showering her with kisses.