The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

September 21, 2012

Centenarian registers to vote for first time

The Daily Southerner

TARBORO — Susie Taylor Brown of Tarboro will celebrate her 101st birthday on Tuesday and, after living for more than a century, she registered to vote for the first time.

“I’ve never signed (voted) before, but I wanted to sign for him [President Barack Obama],” Brown said. “I hope he wins.”

Born in an era long before blacks and whites had equal rights, Brown said she never thought she would live to see the day a black president would be president.

“They don’t want that black president, but they got to have one. You’re going to have one this time if I have to put him in there.”

Brown registered to vote after her second cousin, Layveran Rhoades, asked her if she had registered and she said that she never had.

“If a 101-year-old woman can take time out to vote, what is wrong with the rest of us?” asked Rhoades. She said her cousin “stays abreast of what’s going on in the community and in the world.”

Along with watching the president on the news, Brown enjoys talking on the telephone and reading her Bible. She couldn’t pinpoint a secret to her long life, but her friends and family attribute her longevity to her faith in God and kindness to others.

“She is a mother to many in the Edgecombe area. She’s even given people the opportunity to come and live with her, not to pay any rent, just to be there,” said George Terry, pastor of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, where Brown is a member. “I can see why the Lord has allowed her to get over 100 years old.”

Brown has never had any children of her own, but she said she has babysat plenty of children “black and white” and has raised several others. She said she has done her share of cooking and seen to it that no one who entered her home went hungry.

“If they don’t have anything to eat, I’d take it out of my mouth and feed them,” said Brown. She still has a healthy appetite and indulges in small luxuries, such as Hershey’s dark chocolate bars and coffee.

“I love my coffee. I drink it every day,” she said. Brown is known for her witticisms, as well. Walk through the front door of her home and she’ll say, “You got the right house but the wrong woman.”  

Brown won’t allow anyone to come into her home and talk negatively about other people, said Terry.

“You run your mouth and I’ll run my business,” Brown will say. Above all, Brown is a woman of “great faith,” said Terry.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,” said Brown, quoting her favorite passage of Scripture: Psalm 23.