i think this is just wrong… so wrong! come on guinness! i really don’t have anything else to say about it… except that i would love to have the opportunity to talk with mrs. lanier about all that she’s witnessed.
Slave’s daughter has ‘119th birthday party’ but Guinness won’t verify her as world’s oldest person
Mrs Rebecca Lanier never had birth certificate, required by Guinness World Records, as she was a black girl born to slave parents
By MARK DUELL
This ‘great-great-great-great grandmother’ claims to have lived through three centuries and her family believe she could be the oldest person in the world.
But Rebecca Lanier, 119, whose secret to long life is to ‘keep on living’, will not be recognised by Guinness World Records because she has no birth certificate.
Mrs Lanier, of Warrensville Heights, Ohio, who was born in March 1892, has seventh-generation grandchildren and outlived her husband and their two daughters.
She was born in a small Mississippi community to parents who had been slaves, at a time when many laws were prejudiced against black people in the South.
Because Mrs Lanier is black she was born with no birth certificate in the 1890s, which was normal in the South even though slavery had ended almost thirty years earlier.
This has caused problems as the Guinness Book of World Records needs that certificate to verify her age, which would make her the oldest living person in the world.
‘It’s quite a rigorous process that you go through because the birth certificate is a crucial matter,’ a Guinness World Records spokesman told MailOnline.
Mrs Lanier does however have a letter from the Social Security Administration that states the year of her birth as 1892, her grandson, Jimmie Shambley, 61, said.
But a Social Security spokesman told MailOnline they do not give verification of age and the burden of evidence is on claimants, who must provide official documents.
These can include birth certificates, citizenship certificates or permanent residence cards, with individuals receiving benefits getting an annual letter with their details on.
She spends her time doing the Chinese martial art tai chi every day and does not need to take any medication for illnesses or ailments.
Mrs Lanier, who now lives with Jimmie Shambley and his family, says she is ‘doing alright’ and had her 119th birthday at Warrensville Heights Senior Center on Tuesday.
When asked ‘How old are you today momma?’ by her great grandson Christopher Shambley, she replied: ‘Don’t worry about how old I am’.
‘She still is in her right mind and has great health,’ grandson Jimmie Shambley (above) told Scripps Media. ‘She makes her bed up every morning as she gets herself dressed.’
Mrs Lanier uses a ‘walker’ to balance herself as she moves, but often travels with the family on aeroplanes to various events around the country, they said.
‘She had two daughters. My mother had seven kids,’ Jimmie Shambley told Fox 4.
‘She has 15 great-great grand kids, 18 great-great-great grand kids and has two great-great-great-great grand kids.’
During her life Mrs Lanier has witnessed more than 20 presidents and lived through major events such as two world wars, the birth of flying and the right for women to vote.
‘She’s amazing – she’s just amazing to know,’ one family friend told Fox 4. ‘By her being 119, my friends and I – we range from 60 to 75 – we’re just youngsters.’
The claims come after Georgia great-great grandmother Besse Cooper was visited by Guinness World Records this month to certify her as the world’s oldest living person. Surrounded by family, 114-year-old Cooper accepted a plaque during a small ceremony at a Monroe nursing home.
Record holder: Besse Cooper, 114, of Georgia, was verified as the world’s oldest living person this month by Guinness
WHEN SHE (Mrs. Lanier) WAS BORN…
- Mrs Lanier was born in Mississippi in 1892, the year Grover Cleveland was elected to his second term as President
- Wyoming had just been made a state, but Utah still was not and the U.S. population was around 63million
- Most blacks did not vote as Mississippi had a $2 poll tax most could not afford
- Only those who voted could serve on juries
- General Electric was founded in 1892, but the Ford Motor company was still a decade away
- Much of Mississippi depended on the cotton crops, which began to fail due to boll weevil infestation
- She was born barely a year after the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre of Native Americans that saw 150 Indians killed
I live in Mississippi and I swear sometimes it feels like “those” days. Thank God we are here for only a year. We are a military family and my husband is German and we get awful stares. It’s okay because we are both strong-willed.
thank you for sharing! i like your blog 🙂