Old Lady Turns Older
An African-American woman became the oldest living lady ever (according to the Guinness Book of World Records). Gertrude Baines celebrated her 115th birthday on April 6, 2009. Back in January, some lady in Portugal finally died, and Baines was able to grab the crown of Oldest Living Person all for herself. I bet she was pretty stoked.
Gertrude looks pretty damn good for 115. You know what they say– “Black don’t crack!” And if you didn’t know “they” said that, well, they do. And I for one am looking forward to looking 75 when I am 115, thankyouverymuch.
So, in honor of Gertrude’s 115th birthday, I have compiled a list of all the historical shit this woman has lived through. Grab some breakfast wine. This one’s a long’un:
1894: Gertrude Baines born.
1895: Frederick Douglass dies. YES, Frederick fucking Douglass was alive when Baines was born.
1895: Booker T. Washington gives seminal Atlanta Compromise speech, warning southern white folk to get their shit together and treat black folks with some goddamn respect:
“One-third of the population of the South is of the Negro race….[W]e shall constitute one third of the ignorance and crime of the south or one-third of its intelligence and progress. One-third to the business and prosperity…or we shall prove a veritable body of death, stagnating, depressing, retarding every effort to advance the body politic.”
White folks didn’t get their shit together and 102 years later, Michael Vick proves Booker T.’s point.
1895: Somebody discovers x-rays. Somewhere on Krypton, Superman gets excited.
1896: US Supreme Court decides Plessy v. Ferguson. Segregation is constitutional! Separate but equal! White racist assholery, FTW!
1898: H.G. Wells publishes The War of the Worlds paving the way for Tom Cruise, 107 years later, to prove that he can still carry a movie even though he’s batshit crazy.
1898: United States kicks Spain’s ass in the Spanish-American War. Realizes that tapas, while tiny, is sort of tasty. Also, United States demonstrates its love for annexing shit by annexing the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
1898: Ernest Hemingway born.
1898: More annexing. This time President McKinley annexes Hawaii.
1898: Madame Curie discovers radium. United States wonders what the hell radium is and why the hell France is letting a dame be a scientist.
1899: Friedrich Nietzsche dies. God has last laugh.
1905: Einstein publishes his Special Theory of Relativity, paving the way for his Extra Special Theory of Relativity wherein he marries his first cousin.
1909: Founding of the NAACP paves way for televised Image Awards about 80 years later.
1912: Titanic sinks. Hella people drown in the North Atlantic. But the band kept playing.
1916: Einstein publishes General Theory of Relativity. Still refuses to comb hair.
1918: Global Spanish Flu Pandemic begins, killing an estimated 50 to 100 million people world wide before 1920.
1919: World War I ends. Treaty of Versailles is signed (Europe blames the whole damn war business on Germany) and the League of Nations is created. The whole world is pissed off at Germany for starting shit. Germany shakes fist and plots revenge.
1920: 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution is passed, banning sale, transport, and manufacture of alcohol. Prohibition and the roaring twenties begin. Bitches start wearing flapper dresses and drinking whiskey underground. Alcoholism rises. Presumably, so does the number of unplanned pregnancies. Would’ve been fun to be a white chick in 1920.
1920: 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution is passed, granting women the right to vote. Bitches be votin’ and drinkin’? Hot damn!
1921: Margaret Sanger founds the American Birth Control League, which will eventually become Planned Parenthood. 87 years later, Indiana and Illinois Planned Parenthood chapters offer gift certificates redeemable for health services. (Christmas abortions for everyone!)
1927: Jazz Singer debuts as the first talking film. Seventy-three years later, movie goers watch Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail and the Brothers Jonai in 3D; yearn for the days of yore.
1928: Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin. Good work, Alex. 10 years too late, but hey, you got there… eventually.
1929: Independent State of Vatican City established. Pope continues to wear a funny hat.
1929: Shit hits the fan on the stock market. People freak out. The Great Depression rocks the United States. Steinbeck has an idea.
1939: Germany invades Poland. All hell breaks loose. Beginning of World War II.
1940: Hitler’s douchebaggery continues. Slaughtering Jews among others. Generally acting like a total dick.
1941: After surprise attack by asshole Japan on Pearl Harbor, U.S. declares war on Japan. 60 years later, Pearl Harbor sucks and it’s all Michael Bay’s fault.
1944: The United Negro College Fund is established to raise money to support students at 39 historically black college and universities. 64 years later, Chris Brown confirms that the mind is a terrible thing to waste.
1945: Allies win in Europe! World War II is over! Hitler slaughtered so many fucking people that no one really feels like celebrating, though. Fuck you, Germany.
1945: Asshole U.S. drops bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Tatsumo Yamaguchi survives both attacks. War against Japan is done-zo. A moral Pyrrhic victory, to be sure.
1947: UN decides to divide Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state. Turns out, maybe not the best idea?
1947: Jackie Robinson is signed to the Dodgers and becomes the first African-American baseball player. It didn’t go over so well then, but hey, at least we got Barry Bonds.
1948: Truman signs executive order banning inequal treatment of black folks in the armed services. Probably because hella black people helped the Allies hand Germany its own ass with a side of sauerkraut.
1948: the State of Israel created. Sixty years later, Palestinians still (rightfully, in my opinion) pissed off.
1950: Korean War. Bulgogi is delicious.
1953: Korean War ends. Bulgogi remains delicious.
1953: Queen Elizabeth II crowned at Westminster Abbey. 56 years later, is molested by an African-American First Lady. Never would have seen that one coming.
1954: United States Supreme Court decides Brown v. Board of Education, outlawing segregation in schools. Racist assholes crack their knuckles and gather up their lynchin’ ropes.
1955: Salk invents polio vaccine. FDR briefly wakes up from permanent dirt nap and is like “What!? Curses!”
1955: Rosa Parks refuses to get the hell up out of her seat. 50 years later, Outkast raps about it: (Ah ha, hush that fuss; Everybody move to the back of the bus; Do you wanna bump and slump with us; We the type of people make the club get crunk.) Rosa Parks sues their asses. Justice for all.
1956: Elvis Presley appears on the Ed Sullivan Show. White people go nuts.
1957: USSR launches Sputnik. It’s on, commie pinko bitches!
1957: Little Rock Nine prevented from entering school in Arkansas after US Supreme Court decides Brown v. Board of Education. Eisenhower sends troops to intervene. School integration going swimmingly. Racist assholes continue with the knuckle cracking.
1960: Four college students sat down at an all-white Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina and politely refused to leave until they were served. They weren’t served, but their sit-in sparked a bunch of sit-ins and boycotts of Woolworth. 44 years later, “getting served” means something entirely different.
1960: The Beatles. Blah, blah, blah. Panties droppin’ like John Lennon is a vampire or something.
1961: The Germans are being douches again; East Germany begins building the Berlin Wall.
1961: Ernest Hemingway blows his head off. His wife claims he was just cleaning his gun. No one believes her.
1962: James Meredith becomes the first African American student to attend the University of Mississippi. He is escorted by federal marshalls. White folks rioted (obviously). Black folks probably did too. We loves us some rioting. (See 1965 Watts Riots and 1992 Rodney King riots.)
1962: Cuban Missile Crisis. Bay of Pigs. Some shit went down and we all almost got blown to bits. 38 years later, Kevin Costner’s accent in the movie Thirteen Days makes a mockery of the whole damn affair. Seriously. What the fuck was up with that accent?
1962: Nelson Mandela jailed. Apartheid wins!
1963: JFK assassinated. America freaks out. Oliver Stone’s ego begins to itch.
1963: Medgar Evers, NAACP Field Secretary in Mississippi is murdered. The motherfucker who did it got tried twice and both trials resulted in hung juries. 30 years later, the asshole was finally convicted. He finally got his.
1963: A church in Birmingham, Alabama is bombed, killing four black girls. It’s one violent act in a long stretch of violent acts because some white folks are pissed off about integration and having to share drinking fountains. The KKK is running around in white hoods like it’s Halloween, and generally acting like fucking morons. Civil rights activists march on Washington. MLK has a dream. And it’s that one day racist assholes will just STFU.
1964: President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and outlaws racial segregation.
1964: United States combat troops enter Vietnam. Let the clusterfuck begin!
1965: March from Selma to Montgomery. 44 years later, Ed Norton thinks Earth Hour is as big a deal. He’s wrong.
1965: Malcolm X assassinated. 27 years later, Denzel’s role in Spike Lee’s movie knocks critics’ socks off, but not the Academy’s which thought that Al Pacino’s “hoo-ah!” nonsense was more Oscar-worthy. The Academy would later give Denzel a sympathy Oscar for Training Day in 2001.
1966: Black panthers! Holla! Black folks start sticking picks with fists on them in their afros.
1967: United States Supreme Court decides Loving v. Virginia, ending all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States and paving the way for brazen miscegenators to keep on miscegenatin’. Gay people are all, “hey, wait a minute! What about us?” Chill out, gays. You have to wait 40 years.
1968: Shirley Chisholm is the first African-American woman elected to Congress.
1968: MLK assasssinated. Jesse Jackson was standing right next to him. Sometimes people need to remember that and quit giving him such a hard time, even though he’s a bit of a douche sometimes and seemingly wanted to cut off Barack Obama’s nuts during the election. (See 2008.)
1969: Woodstock. Lots of LSD. Who even remembers what happened. I know I don’t. I wasn’t there.
1969: Stonewall riots. Black folks better watch out. Turns out the gays love themselves a good riot too. From Wikipedia:
A bystander shouted, “Gay power!”, someone began singing “We Shall Overcome”, and the crowd reacted with amusement and general good humor mixed with “growing and intensive hostility.” An officer shoved a transvestite, who responded by hitting him on the head with her purse as the crowd began to boo.
Come on, po po! You can’t be shovin’ a tranny with a loaded purse. That’s Gay Public Relations 101.
1974: Combat troops finally get the fuck out Vietnam. Pho is delicious.
1979: Maggie Thatcher in the house! And by “house,” I mean “British Parliament.”
April 6, 1980: Gertrude Baines turns 86.
Jesus, lady! You’re 86 in 1980. That’s just when shit started to get good!
Stay tuned! Coming soon — 1980 to the present. It will include such exciting events as Germany deciding to stop being such a douche all the time, Al Gore inventing the internets and then inventing global warming, the rise of the Swatch watch, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Rodney King, Iraq War, Iraq War, the rise of the boy band, the rise and fall of Britney Spears, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Barack Obama.
UPDATE: Click here for Part Deux (1980 to the present).