Ella Mae Johnson, 104, social worker and Case Western Reserve University's oldest living black graduate, to be present at presidential inauguration

Cleveland Plain Dealer

Celebrating her 105th birthday next month would have been reason enough for Ella Mae Johnson to get excited. Finding out that she was chosen to be a special guest at President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration was more than she could have imagined.

"I just want to go," she said. "My great-grandchildren will say of their grandma, 'She was there.' "

The Cleveland Heights woman started her multifaceted career in public service 80 years ago as a social worker, helping a widowed Louise Stokes and her young sons, Lou and Carl - who, respectively, went on to become a longtime Cleveland congressman and the first black mayor of a major U.S. city.

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Ella Mae Johnson, 104, social worker and Case Western Reserve University's oldest living black graduate, to be present at presidential inauguration »