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An African American centenarian who saw W. E. B. Du Bois speak in 1924 and attended President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009 shares wisdom from a life well lived during a crucial period in American history

Ella Mae Cheeks Johnson was an inspirational, dynamic, and one-of-a-kind woman, whose ordinary life was nothing less than extraordinary throughout the course of her 106 years. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University, Ella Mae was the child of former slaves and experienced the best and worst of the past century in America—from the Jim Crow era and the Great Depression to the inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2009, which she memorably attended. Through it all, she endured—and thrived—by adhering to the example of the Good Samaritan: the belief that compassion is the key to the good life and offering to help without expecting payback brings its own rewards. In It Is Well with My Soul, Ella Mae Cheeks Johnson shares her insights on living a long and enjoyable life and her hopes for the future.

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