Remembering Rosa Wright - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Joe Birch

Remembering Rosa Wright

A dedicated group of Memphians spent this day celebrating a long life well lived.

Memphian Rosa Wright lived through the end of the 19th century, the ENTIRE 20th century and up until last Friday, all of the 21st.

It was the blessing of many who deliver MIFA Meals on Wheels to come to know the sweet woman who lived 109 years, 2 months and 20 days.

Recently, Rosa Wright gently shared the secret of her longevity:

"I always treat people the way I want to be treated and try to love everybody," Wright said.

We first featured Rosa Wright in December 1999 on the eve of Y2K, a witness to all the 20th century.
"I've had a good life in the church and I had good parents, you know, Christian parents. And I got a good husband. That means a lots. And we been united 70 years," Wright said.

Sanco and Rosa got married and moved from their native Tallahatchie County to 597 Mississippi Boulevard in 1924.  With love and good cheer, they survived the Great Depression, World Wars and all the indignities of segregation. After Sanco died a few years ago, Rosa's house fell into disrepair.

Pigeons were roosting in the attic and rain would drain through the roof. Just a few feet away from Rosa's front door, drug dealers pushed their products. But Rosa Wright refused to move.

Action News 5 aired a story about the Matriarch of Mississippi Boulevard who needed help repairing her home. Rev. Kenneth Whalum, Sr., who died earlier this year, saw our 2004 story.R osa had served as Whalum's father's secretary at Union Protective Insurance Company in the 1930s and '40s.

A group of big hearted Memphians also saw our report and rallied to save the Wright house. Roy Scott led the work crew hired by the LeMoyne Owen Community Development Corporation.
"She needed a new roof and kitchen and a bathroom and some general renovation. It was the right thing to do," Jeffrey Higgs of the leMoyne Owen Community Development Corporation said.

The Midtown Home Depot donated all the supplies!  After a two month renovation, at age 106, Rosa moved back into her beloved home:

"I don't think Heaven ain't going to be no better than this, is it?" she asked after moving back in.

Rosa lived at that home, radically independent to the last, until Summer 2007.

She died last Friday at age 109.

Because of her sweet spirit and incredible longevity, she inspired Memphians of different races to work together on the repair of her house, thereby creating new friendships and leaving behind a long, long legacy of love.

Click here to e-mail Joe Birch.

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