Central City man prepares to celebrate 105th birthday - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Central City man prepares to celebrate 105th birthday

Lawrence Brooks, 104 years old Lawrence Brooks, 104 years old

A Central City man has lived a lot of history.

Lawrence Brooks will be 105 years old in a couple of months. Taft was president when he was born, and the NAACP had just been founded. He's lived through change we can't imagine.

Brooks watches the world go by from a Clara Street porch, saying it's moving too fast. He remembers simpler times like the model T he bought in the 1920s.

"Me and my brother had one and we paid $300 for it," he said. "If we had problems with the light, we'd take a nail and stick it up in there and the lights will come on."

At age 104, he loves to laugh, although he's witnessed some of the saddest times in history.
"We had to go to the back everywhere, we had to go to the back - no front, had to go to the back. During that time, white people hated black people and I don't know why. We never did 'em nothing," he said.

He moved to New Orleans and was drafted and sent overseas after Pearl Harbor to fight in World War II. Four children and 12 grandchildren later, he has changed over the decades with the times and managed to keep up with them.

"This drug business got them going crazy," he said.

He said he remembers as a child if you saw a woman's knee, it was disgrace. Dresses came to their ankles.

"Now some of them ain't got no dress," he said shaking with laughter.

Over the decades, he watched Dr. King march for civil rights, and watched the first black president inaugurated on a television that wasn't even invented when he was born.

So how did he do it? How did he stay healthy while watching a century unfold? Rigorous exercise! He lifts light weights and does arm lifts.

"I put all my weight on my shoulders push myself up," he said, adding clean living is also key. "When something hurts on any part of your body, something is wrong."

On his dresser he has accolades.

"This is from the governor," He said showing off a 103rd birthday proclamation.

He walks only blocks now because of a bad hip, but he was walking two or three miles a day. His church brings him joy. He tries to never miss a Sunday at St. Luke's Episcopal. He said young people pass over some of the good things looking for something else, and miss everything.

He plans on being around to give advice for a while.

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