Jeralean Talley is 113 years old. She's one of a few living people actually born in the 1800s. She's the third-oldest person in the world, the second-oldest woman and the oldest person in the U.S.

Talley lives in Inkster, a Detroit suburb where several African-Americans settled at the turn of the century to work for Ford in nearby Dearborn. A long-standing rumor was that Henry Ford established Inkster specifically for black Ford employees, but in truth he donated thousands of dollars to keep the burgeoning village from going bankrupt. A similar gesture would manifest decades later.


The supercentenarian's story of how she came to Inkster isn't fully explained, but I'm willing to bet she was surrounded by Ford employees all her life and still is. So it's a little baffling that despite being older than Ford Motor Company itself, she has never enjoyed one of their fine automobiles. Or a GM or Chrysler for that matter, because Talley says she has never driven a car.

Compare that to 102-year-old Margaret Dunning, who lives 20 miles away from Talley and has been driving since she was eight. Talley's other hobbies include fishing and bowling, but not driving.

Talley did get behind the wheel once, she says, and would never do it again. Her late husband "hollered at her" when she tried to park their car in the garage. Apparently Talley shifted to reverse when she meant to go forward, causing an argument.

It's best to watch the video to hear her tell it, but she snapped back at her husband, saying "you sit your damn black ass down there, and when I get ready to go somewhere, put your black ass in that car and drive it."


Talley also does a chicken dance at the beginning of the video that's just adorable. By the way, her secret to living long is black coffee with a little sugar every day, and no cheese.

[Detroit Free Press]

Share This Story

Get our newsletter