Louisiana Hines (pictured), the nation’s oldest African American, passed away Friday of natural causes at age 113 according to public records, but her family argues that she was in fact 114, according to the Detroit Free Press.
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Although Hines’ family has a birth certificate stating she was born on April 13, 1898, which would have made her 114, Robert Young, a senior database administrator for California’s Gerontology Research Group contends she was in fact a year younger. Young, who is also a consultant for the famed Guinness World Records organization, argues that census records from 1900 state that Hines was in fact born in April 1899, which would have made her 113.
Therefore, the researcher concludes that the birth certificate that Hines’ family has in their possession was issued in the 1940s, which means it was delayed and given to her when Hines was already an adult.
Whether Hines was 113 or 114, she was the sixth oldest living person in the world and the oldest living African American.
Hines was born in Luverne, Ala., and was one of seven children with both of her parents being born into slavery. In 1918, she married Arthur Hines and had a daughter and two sons. She and her family relocated to Florida from Alabama, where she helped to run a restaurant.
In 1940, the family then eventually moved to the Motor City, Det., where Arthur landed a job at a Packard Motor Car plant. When the second World War hit, Hines found herself working as a riveter at an airplane factory.
Taking classes at a beauty school resulted in Hines obtaining a license as a hairdresser. In 1948, Hines wound up opening a beauty salon, L. Hines Beauty Shop, in Detroit. Even though Hines’ shop closed a while ago, she was still a licensed beautician at the time of her death, according to her granddaughter.
Even well after Hines turned 100, she still maintained memberships in numerous civic and social community service groups, including Amvets Auxiliary, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Order of the Eastern Star Prince Hall Affiliation, and the Red Hat Society.