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Letter: Retired KCS teacher celebrates 106th birthday

During an interview recently at her alma mater, North Carolina Central University in Durham, retired Kannapolis City Schools teacher and librarian Ms. Maggie P. Bryant listed all of the major events through which she has lived, including World War I, the 1918 Pandemic, the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War, the Civil Rights Movement, Sept. 11, 2001 and now the COVID-19 pandemic. On July 2, she celebrated her 106th birthday in Durham.

Since my graduation from G.W. Carver High School in 1966 (and then from NCCU), Ms. Bryant and I have kept in close contact as she continues to collect and archive the history of a segregated Carver and her family’s rich history (descendants of slavery) that impacts components of North Carolina history. Her modest home is full of treasures she continues to share with whoever wants to listen, including the National African American Genealogy Conference. Certainly, her steadfast search for historical truth has helped to keep her sharp as ever, cultured as ever and independent as ever.

In fact, she attributes her longevity in part to reading the Bible every day, giving her body what it needs and not what it wants, and giving respect and love to everyone.

What a simple formula! Indeed, we celebrate this gentle lady and her longevity. “Unexpected,” Ms. Bryant shared in the NCCU interview about her age, because “I was a seven-month baby and was not expected to live.” Yet, here she is 106 years later and still going strong. Happy Birthday, Ms. Maggie P. Bryant! You keep us encouraged.

— Larry B. Johnson

Glen Burnie, Maryland

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