Charlotte Hawkins Flowers

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings made the following statement on the House floor on February 9, 2012 congratulating Charlotte Hawkins Flowers on her 112th Birthday:

M. Speaker, I rise today and ask my colleagues to join me in wishing a happy 112th birthday to Ms. Charlotte Hawkins Flowers.

Ms. Flowers, or Gram as she is lovingly called by her family, was born on February 20, 1900 in Madison, Florida. Throughout her life, Gram has always taken care of others. Whether friends, families, neighbors or strangers, Gram always was ready to help others in any way she could. Her granddaughter, whom she has lived within Riviera Beach since 2005, reflected that Gram lived her life in adherence to Ecclesiastes 9:10 which states that: "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might."

With a special place in her heart for helping children, Gram had a in-home day care center in the 60's and 70's and has been a foster grandparent. As the oldest of three daughters and four sons born to Date Hawkins, she left school in the third grade to help care for her siblings. However, she still learned how to read and write and provided her grandchildren with help with their homework.

Gram also has a knack for cooking, working as a cook at Florida State University and also as a private home cook. Although she personally has a sweet tooth and loves Coca-Cola, sweet tea, and sweet potato pie, as a cook one of her specialties was homemade biscuits. In addition to filling others up with delicious food, she also fills them with wisdom. One of her trademark sayings is "Be careful how you treat people. Because you're up today doesn't mean you won't be down tomorrow." This sentiment was something my grandmother used to also share with me and are words we should all live by every day in caring for others.

To that end, Gram always was active in her church, the Philadelphia Primitive Baptist Church in Tallahassee. She believes that it is her walk with Jesus that keeps her going strong. This strength allowed her until a few years ago to visit the sick and shut-in members of her church. Although she learned to drive, Gram never got her drivers' license or owned a car so she would often walk to make these visits. Even at 111, Gram still tries to help out in any way she can.

M. Speaker, on February 20, 2012, Ms. Charlotte Hawkins Flowers will be celebrating her 112th birthday with her son family in Florida. Although she has survived her six siblings and nine children, she will be surrounded by a multitude of family: five grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, 11 great-great grandchildren, 16 great-great-great grandchildren, and four great-great-great-great grandchildren. It is my distinguished honor to wish her a very happy birthday and congratulate her on reaching this milestone and dedicating her life to caring for others.