Black Experience

Black Couple, Ages 103 and 100, Celebrates 82 Years of Marriage

Black love can last.

D.W. Williams, 103, and Willie Williams, 100, celebrated 82 years of marriage and their birthdays on Sunday, which fall only seven days apart.

Their daughter, granddaughter and family threw them a celebration at their church, First Mayfield Memorial Baptist Church in Charlotte.

They won the state’s longest running marriage contest in 2014.

They met in Newberry, South Carolina, in 1935 and married in 1937. These days they spend their time watching country westerns and playing crossword puzzles.

How They Make It Work

“We don’t argue or have any fights. If we have a misunderstanding, we just talk it over,” they said. “The secret to a long marriage is just be nice to each other.”

“They have had such a long, successful marriage because they put God first and are each other’s best friends,” said their granddaughter, BJ Williams-Greene.

“My grandparents’ marriage is an inspiration. They communicate and make decisions together, they strive and achieve together and everyone loves them because they are genuine. They just inspire everyone to be the best they can be,” Williams-Greene said.

Given marriage statistics in the Black community are bleak, and the socio economic factors play a part in singleness and divorce, they have achieved quite a feat.

“Although we lived during the Jim Crow era, we were still able to work and do things in the community. We were not impacted much by it because there were a lot of people willing to assist, who didn’t let the color of our skin stand in the way,” the couple said.

Asked what they’d do with another 100 years, D.W. replied, “I don’t know.”

“Sit around the house,” Willie added, making her husband laugh.

There are a few other Black marriages that stood the test of A LONG time.

One held the 2008 Guinness World Record for the longest marriage of a living couple until 2013. Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher of North Carolina were married 87 years and had lived to see 5 children, 10 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great grandchild.

Before Herbert died in 2011 at 105 years old (Zelmyra two years later at 105), he and his wife shared their marriage advice: “Respect, support and communicate with each other. Be faithful, honest and true. Love each other with all of your heart.”

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