Mississippi Winn, believed to be oldest living African American, dies at 113

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Mississippi Winn, a Louisiana woman believed to have been the oldest living African American, has died at 113.

Winn, an upbeat former domestic worker known as “Sweetie,” died Friday afternoon at Magnolia Manor Nursing Home in Shreveport, La., said Milton Carroll, an investigator with the Caddo Parish coroner’s office. He said he could not release the cause of death.

Winn was believed to be the oldest living African American in the United States and the seventh-oldest living person in the world, said Robert Young of the Gerontology Research Group, which verifies information for Guinness World Records.

Young said Winn was one of two known people left in the United States whose parents both were almost certainly born into slavery because documents show they were born before the end of the Civil War, though her great-niece Mary C. Hollins said Winn never acknowledged that. The Civil War and President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery in the U.S.


With Winn’s death, the Los Angeles-based gerontology group has verified Mamie Rearden, 112, of South Carolina as the oldest known living African American. Eunice Sanborn, 114, of Texas is the world’s oldest known living person, Young said.

Winn, who never married, was a caretaker of children and a cook. She lived nearly her entire life in Louisiana, though she resided in Seattle from 1957 to 1975, Hollins said.

According to a biography released by Shreveport, Winn was one of eight children, including a sister who died in 2000 at age 100.

-- Associated Press