FLORENCE – You might call Catherine Miller Morgan Harris the world’s toughest Bulldog.
The South Carolina State College (now University) alumna recently celebrated her 104th birthday on June 8, having survived a bout with COVID-19 last year.
On Saturday, President James E. Clark visited Harris at her home at Carlyle Senior Care in Florence. Clark presented her with several gifts of SC State merchandise, including a Bulldog sweater and a blanket bearing the university’s seal, as well as a framed certificate honoring her longevity.
He was joined by trustee Starlee D. Alexander; Dwight James, president of the Darlington Chapter of the SC State National Alumni Association; Lina Pearson, a Darlington Chapter member; and members of Harris’ family.
Harris graduated with an education degree from SC State in 1940 and went on to teach school in both North and South Carolina.
According to The Morning News in Florence, she returned to Florence in the 1950s to open an office where she served as an accountant and helped people obtain records to receive Social Security benefits, proof of marriage and records to enroll their children in school. As many Black Americans left the rural South for economic and social reasons in the segregation era, her work saved those migrants from making a trip back to the South to obtain necessary documents. The Morning News also reported that Harris worked as a reporter for the Afro-American Newspaper Company of Baltimore.
While U.S. Census data indicate that her age is 103, Harris maintains her age was incorrectly recorded in the census, adding a year to her date of birth.