Susie Thomas of Pine Bluff will celebrate her 104th birthday with family and friends at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, at Colonial Steak House.
“I feel good,” Thomas said when asked how she felt about her life and upcoming celebration. “I am very happy to have my right state of mind. I’m so glad that I still know right from wrong.”
According to a news release, Thomas was born Sept. 28, 1913, in St. Joseph, Louisiana, the daughter of the late Mary Gines and Nelson Jones. She was reared by her grandparents, Charles and Lou Ellen Gines. She was educated at Rosenward public school in Louisiana.
She relocated to Portland, Oregon, then to Vancouver, Washington, to work in the shipyards. It was in Vancouver where she and Huey Thomas were married. The couple eventually settled in Pine Bluff at the end of World War II.
Thomas is the mother of five children — Otis Carman Thomas, Stella Thomas, the late Floyd Fuller Sr., Gloria Fuller and Jane Fuller Jackson. Stella Thomas, who shares her mother’s birthday, will be celebrating alongside her.
Thomas has 11 grandchildren — Felisha Gaines, Veronica Murry, Harvey Franklin, Lasonja Holloman, Zyrus Franklin, Floyd Fuller Jr., Yolanda (Lynn) Carman, Moya Benjamin, Anthony Johnson, Kisha Thomas, and Dexter Harris (deceased). She has 20 great-grandchildren and 15 great-great-grandchildren.
Thomas joined the Hazel Street Church of Christ in the early 1970s and is the oldest living member of the congregation.
“Thomas has worked relentlessly on behalf of local, national and international communities,” according to a family spokesman. “She is well-renowned within the region for her leadership within ACORN and other progressive change organizations. She has participated in hundreds of events including marches, protests, sit-ins and board meetings in her efforts to challenge the status quo, improve equality and eliminate unfair social and economic policies. She was even arrested once during a peaceful demonstration, when she crossed the picket line, fighting South African apartheid in Washington, D.C.”
She was an early member of the NAACP in Pine Bluff, worked with political action committees and supported voting rights and registration initiatives.
On her 100th birthday, a representative of the Pine Bluff Mayor’s office presented a citation proclaiming Sept. 28 as “Susie Thomas Day,” the spokesman said.
“We are delighted to salute our family matriarch for her many, many accomplishments, but most of all for being a formidable familial force in an otherwise uncertain world. Happy Birthday, we love you,” the spokesman said.
Seating for the celebration is limited, therefore guests are asked to RSVP by Thursday, Sept. 28. Details: Gloria Fuller, 870-872-2893.