104-Year-Old South Carolina Woman Who Survived the Coronavirus Honored by Her Alma Mater with a Birthday Party
It was quite the birthday celebration for Catherine Miller Morgan Harris. After a tough year for all amid the coronavirus pandemic, we're loving this sweet story about Ms. Harris.
The South Carolina State College (now University) alumna recently celebrated her 104th birthday on June 8th - though census records state she is 103, Harris says her age was incorrectly recorded - at her home at Carlyle Senior Care in Florence, South Carolina, with friends from her alma mater. While the historically Black university is in Orangeburg, South Carolina, about an hour-and-a-half Southwest, the university's President, James E. Clark traveled to Florence to present Ms. Harris with several gifts from the school, including a sweater with a bulldog, the school's mascot; a blanket with the university's seal, and a framed certificate honoring her longevity. Along with Clark, Trustee Starlee D. Alexander, Dwight James, president of the Darlington Chapter of the SC State National Alumni Association, Mrs. Lina Pearson, a Darlington Chapter member, and members of Ms. Harris' family attended the festivities.
Although it was all smiles for Ms. Harris' special day, it certainly has been a tough year for the centenarian, who contracted COVID-19 last year, making her one of a small group of people to be alive during both the Spanish Flu and coronavirus pandemics. Thankfully, she did not require hospitalization, according to her niece Elizabeth Coleman via Good Morning America. Nevertheless, with visitation shut down at nursing homes across the country throughout the height of the virus' outbreak, we're sure it was all the more of a treasured occasion for Ms. Harris after being isolated from outside guests for so long.
And what a remarkable life she's lived: As Florence's The Morning News reported, after Ms. Harris graduated from South Carolina State College in 1940, she taught in the Carolinas before returning to Florence in the 1950s to open an office where she served as an accountant. Ms. Harris also was a reporter for Afro-American Newspaper Company of Baltimore and served as an assistant secretary for the Palmetto Voters Association.
Ms. Harris credits her long life to her faith. "I must have been nice to people because the good Lord has been nice to me," Harris told The Morning News. We hope you're enjoying your birthday all month long, Ms. Harris, and wearing your alma mater sweater proudly.