DeKalb celebrates newest centenarian

The relationships Addie Mildred Knight Crawford has built at the YMCA brought a room full of people to her 100th birthday celebration at South DeKalb YMCA Dec. 23.

Not only did Crawford and members of the YMCA celebrate, but Debra DeBerry, clerk of Superior Court of Dekalb County, attended and presented a resolution that called upon the entire county to celebrate the day with Crawford.

“[Crawford] participated in marches, protests, boycotts, voter registration drives and rallies that were commonplace in that area,” DeBerry said. “And whereas, Addie eventually moved to Atlanta where she has stayed activate thanks to the help of her family and caretaker. And whereas, the office of DeKalb County Clerk of Superior Court congratulates you … on becoming a magnificent and tremendous centenarian.”

DeBerry’s office also gave Crawford 100 birthday cards.

Eric Hubbard, outreach director for U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, took the stage after DeBerry and read a proclamation that made Dec. 23, 2019 Addie Crawford Day for all of Georgia’s 4th Congressional District.

In addition to highlighting her personal achievements, good deeds and family, Johnson’s resolution signifies Crawford’s 100th birthday as a special day in his district’s history.

“Upon [her high school] graduation she attended Tennessee ANI State College in Nashville,” Hubbard read from the resolution. “And a few years later she attended and graduated from Meharry Medical College Nursing School and whereas after graduation [Crawford] worked in Meharry’s Hubbard Hospital emergency room for several months before travelling to New York City to get experience in a visiting nurse service. In New York, she met the love of her life, Mr. Joseph Henry Crawford Jr.”

Hubbard said Johnson will read it aloud to the 116th Congress so Crawford and her day will remain in the Congressional records forever.

“I, Hank Johnson Jr., do hereby proclaim December 23, 2019 as Ms. Addie Mildred Knight Crawford Day in the 4th Congressional District of Georgia,” Hubbard read.

Crawford’s entire life was celebrated at her 100th birthday party. Speakers talked about Crawford’s time in school, her activism in the Civil Rights movement, how she met her husband, her work as a nurse and Crawford’s involvement in organizations such as the YMCA, NAACP and the Meharry Alumni Association.

Crawford is one of YMCA’s most loyal members, according to South DeKalb YMCA executive director Curtis Winston. It was Crawford attending an aerobics class at the YMCA before a doctor ordered her to stop that caused many of those friendships at YMCA to flourish.

Following her doctor’s orders, Crawford was back at the YMCA ready to start chair-aerobics class. In fact, Crawford’s plan to join a chair-aerobics class was what convinced the YMCA to start carrying that class, and that class has helped Crawford build friendships throughout the facility, Winston said.

According to Winston, the YMCA had been planning to start the class for a year or so, but finding participants, room and meeting other necessary requirements took longer than expected.

When Winston heard that Crawford planned to join, chair-aerobics became the YMCA’s top-priority and the class filled up.

Crawford said she is grateful for her family and friends every day, in addition to the YMCA.

“All you can do is be the best you can be,” Crawford.

Crawford’s daughter confirmed that Crawford practices what she preaches, as she thanked her for being such a strong impact on her and the community.

Crawford’s secret to living a long and enjoyable life is simple: “It’s just me,” Crawford said. “[My secret] is just me being me.”


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