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106-year-old who saw Obama inauguration dies

Emma Brown

Ella Mae Johnson, the Ohio woman who traveled to Washington to witness Barack Obama's inauguration shortly after her 105th birthday, died Monday, March 22.

She was 106 at the time of her death and during the course of her life had experienced prejudice and racism firsthand. The inauguration of the nation's first black president, she said at the time, was not to be missed.

"I want my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to be able to say, 'She was there.'"

The former social worker was born in Dallas. Orphaned as a child and raised by neighbors, she graduated in 1925 from Fisk University in Nashville. Three years later she received a master's degree in social sciences from what is now Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Photo courtesy Associated Press.

By Emma Brown  |  March 25, 2010; 10:07 AM ET
Categories:  Emma Brown , Politics  
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