Georgia Woman Celebrates 104th Birthday With Community Drive-By Party


January 11, 2022

She’s lived a full life!

A Georgia woman celebrated her 104th birthday with a community party, 11 Alive reports. 

Winnell Cunningham Shaw just turned 104-years-old, celebrating with a community drive through party this past weekend. The Lawrenceville, Georgia native was born in 1918, moving to Atlanta in 1930 after the death of her mother and aunt. She attended elementary school at Ashby Street, the largest Black public elementary school in the city, before attending Booker T. Washington High School, the first public high school for Blacks in the state. At 23-years-old, she married her forever partner, Frank Shaw, the two raising four children before his passing.


Over the course of her life, Shaw earned quite a name for herself in her community. Working as a seamstress and caretaker for young children, she gained the nickname, “Ms. Nell.” Shaw dedicated her life to helping women raise their children and making sure the community operated as a village, even helping deliver one of her friend’s children in 1961. 

Since retiring as a seamstress, Shaw lives a much quieter life these days, spending most of her time playing Gin Rummy and drawing. Her 13 grandchildren say they enjoy these moments where they can just sit and listen to their grandmother reminisce about “the old days.” 

This weekend, neighbors gathered at Shaw’s apartment complex to celebrate her birthday. Many drove through, honking their horns and cheering for their hometown hero. Locals call Shaw a Southern charm. To celebrate her milestone birthday, her drawings which she does daily were put on display for the community as they paraded around the matriarch. 


“I feel good. I think I lived to be this old because I was understanding and I tried to live right and do the right thing,” Shaw told reporters. 

Happy Birthday Mama Shaw! Because of you, we can!

Photo Courtesy of 11 Alive News


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