Florence civil rights activist celebrates 100th birthday

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – A Florence woman turned 100-years-old on Sunday.

Evelyn Guile celebrated her birthday with a room filled with friends and family.

“I have lived a very good and happy life, I’ve got a beautiful family, and I’m feeling really blessed,” said Guile.

She said she enjoys traveling and creating new experiences.

“I’ve been all over the world. I’ve been on every continent,” she said. “I feel honored and blessed.”

Family members described the 100-year-old as a seamstress, civil rights activist, mother, wife, and grandmother.

Austin Disher is Guile’s great-great grandson. He said he is proud of his grandmother, who accomplished many things in her lifetime.

“She’s seen a lot and she never forgets to tell us those stories at Christmas time or any chance she gets,” Disher said. “It’s amazing to hear what she lived through you know back in the early 1900s all the way up to right now.”

Guile’s nephew, Taft Guile, said his aunt has always been extremely active in the Florence community.

“She’s served on a lot of boards,” he said. “She made the actual flag of Florence County that’s displayed at the County Complex.”

Guile said her husband was the President of the NAACP during the civil rights movement, and she filed papers to integrate Florence schools. She said her family is dedicated to making a change in their community.

“My son integrated Florence Library,” Guile said. “I think Florence has grown and is really making a lot of progress.”

Guile’s only son, Ernest Guile Jr., said the tasks his mother tried to complete weren’t always easy.

“Think about it, the last hundred years has not been a walk in the park,” he said. “She [Evelyn] survived the depression, she survived stock exchange collapses, but she’s had a joyful life with family and she has made a special stress on education for her children and her grandchildren in particular.”

Guile said she looks forward to positive change in the world.

“I’d like to see more peace and happiness,” she said. “Live and be happy and live a productive life.”

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