Susie Thomas of Pine Bluff recently celebrated her 106th birthday with family and friends at Colonial Steakhouse Restaurant.
Thomas was born Sept. 28, 1913, at St. Josephs, La., the only daughter of the late Mary Gines and Nelson Jones, according to a news release.
She was reared by her grandparents, Charles and Lou Ellen Gines. She was educated at Rosenward public school in Louisiana and moved to Pine Bluff during World War II, where she met her late husband, Huey Thomas. She then relocated to Portland, Ore., but not long after she moved to Vancouver, Wash., to work in the shipyards. It was in Vancouver where she and Huey were married. The couple eventually settled in Pine Bluff at the end of the war and she remained in Arkansas, according to the release.
Thomas is the mother of five children — Stella Thomas, Gloria Fuller, Jane Fuller Jackson and the late Otis Carman and Floyd Fuller.
Thomas has 11 grandchildren — Felisha Gaines, Veronica Murry, Harvey Franklin, Lasonja Holloman, Zyrus Franklin, Yolanda (Lynn) Carman, Moya Benjamin, Anthony Johnson, Kisha Thomas, and the late Floyd Fuller Jr. and Dexter Harris. She has 21 great-grandchildren and 17 great-great-grandchildren.
Thomas joined the Hazel Street Church of Christ in the early 1970s where she is still an active participant and one of the oldest living members 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 fearlessly fought illegal segregation practices that were still going on in Star City well into the 1980s. She was an early member of the NAACP in Pine Bluff and has worked with several political action committees for positive change.”
Thomas was honored during her 100th birthday celebration by a representative of the Pine Bluff Mayor’s office, where she received a citation proclaiming Sept. 28 as “Susie Thomas Day.”
“Our family and friends are once again grateful to be celebrating another birthday,” the spokesman said. “We are glad we can come together to celebrate her extraordinary life. Happy Birthday, we love you.”
The birthday gathering was held Sept. 28, 2019, according to the news release.