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Stone Mountain woman celebrates 104th birthday

Winnell Cunningham Shaw has lived through a history generations have only read in books.

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. — A Stone Mountain woman ushered in her 104th birthday with honks, beeps and cheers from her community on Saturday.

Winnell Cunningham Shaw saw neighbors come together at the Antioch Villas Gardens Apartments, celebrating her milestone.

Her neighbors say she is a Southern charm.

Shaw was born in Lawrenceville, Georgia and has lived through a history few could experience.

In 1930 at 12 years old she moved to Atlanta after her mother and aunt passed away. Shaw attended Ashby Street Elementary, the largest African American public elementary school in the city. She would go on to graduate from Booker T. Washington High School, the first public high school for African Americans in the state and in the Atlanta Public Schools system.

Shaw then married the love of her life at 23 years old. She raised four children with her husband Frank Shaw until he passed.

Throughout her life Shaw was a seamstress for the community and a caretaker, specifically for children, earning her the nickname "Ms. Nell." It takes a village, and Shaw was deeply invested in helping women raise their kids, even delivering a child of a friend in 1961.

She currently has 13 grandchildren who say they've enjoyed the moments they have been able to sit down and hear stories about "the old days."

Shaw retired as a seamstress and instead has taken up Gin Rummy and drawing. Neighbors say she draws almost every day and are doodles of her childhood.

Her work was put on display as the community drove through to celebrate her birthday.


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