'Thankful to be alive': 102-year-old Fayetteville woman votes for the first time in her life in 2020 election

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- When you've lived more than a century like Gertrude Stackhouse, the motto better late than never stands true. At 102 years young, she's a woman of few words who is casting her vote this presidential election for the first time ever.

"Wonderful. Wonderful. Thankful to be alive to do this in the right mind," said Stackhouse.

She voted Friday afternoon at Stoney Point polling location and was escorted by some of her children, grandson and great-grandsons.

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"We're standing on grounds where my mother labored. We're family and all her siblings which was about 14 people in that household," said Clinton Stackhouse.

Though the Fayetteville native is blind, she remembers a time when tactics were used to disenfranchise Black voters in the South. They were forced to take literacy tests or pay poll taxes in order to vote. The landmark legislation known as the Voting Rights Act of 1965 changed everything and guaranteed African-Americans their right to cast their ballots.

Her grandson, Chris Stackhouse, voted with her and asked how it felt to cast her vote in the same place that used to be a field where she picked cotton.

"Ain't that something," she replied teary-eyed.

Stackhouse has lived through two pandemics. The first being the Spanish Flu of 1918 and now the COVID-19 pandemic. Even at 102, Stackhouse shows that nothing could keep her from making sure her voice is heard and her vote counted.

"I hope that helps inspire and encourage other people to not let anything keep them from voting," said Chris Stackhouse.
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