Largest housing authority in Georgia celebrates the 102nd birthday of oldest living Black resident

Since 1975, Clara Bridges has lived at Peachtree Senior Tower.

The oldest living resident of the largest housing authority in Georgia celebrated her 102nd birthday on March 24.

Clara Bridges, or Mama Bridges as she is affectionately known, marked her big day with friends and family at the Peachtree Senior Tower where she’s lived since 1975, according to a news release.

Clara Bridges celebrates birthday in Atlanta
Clara Bridges celebrates her 102 birthday. (Credit: YouTube Screenshot Fox 5 Atlanta)

“Mama Bridges represents the best of Atlanta, our state and our region,” said Eugene E. Jones, Jr., president and CEO of Atlanta Housing, which previously owned the property. “We are privileged and honored to still have her in our lives, and the love and compassion she shares is a living example for us all,” Jones added.

The Peachtree Senior Tower was recently converted under the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) initiative. The program was established by the Obama Administration in 2011. Atlanta Housing continues to provide subsidies and resident services to the property, according to the news release.

After graduating from Booker T. Washington High School, Bridges completed nursing programs at Clark College and Grady Hospital. As a member of the U.S. Army, she served honorably at four military installations. Upon retiring in 1976 from nursing after 33 years, Bridges became the first Black resident of Peachtree Senior Tower where she has lived ever since.

I love it here,” Bridges told an interviewer during her birthday celebration, per the news release.

“It’s been a home, a community and a family. I’ve seen so many people — all the people have come [to this community]. And they have tried to give our community the best…tell Atlanta Housing there is no other!” she added.

As part of her birthday celebration, the building dedicated a room in her honor called “Clara’s Place,” Fox 5 Atlanta reports.

The Atlanta native said she often looks back over her life and asks herself, “’Have I lived my life that was given to me to live? ‘Cause [it’s] a lot [of us] who [would] take someone else’s life and live,” she explained. “But I wanted mine,” she added.

When asked for the secret to her longevity, the World War II veteran said, “People don’t know, God rained down on us. Days like this, people don’t realize what senior citizens go through. “‘How did you get there, Ms. Bridges?'” she said she is often asked. “I said, just a closer walk with God.”

Bridges reportedly spoke to Dr. Bernice King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., on her birthday.

“Whenever somebody this age calls, God’s speaking,” said King, according to the news release. “I hope we don’t take this moment for granted or lightly.”

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