Up Next

Get Lifted

93-year-old to cast a New York vote in the Electoral College

Hazel Ingram’s grandmother was born into slavery, so she recognizes the seriousness of every vote

  • Meet Hazel Ingram. She’s 93 years old. You might remember when she made headlines last year while working as an office cleaner in Manhattan for over 60 years. Or maybe you spotted her in July during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where she joined Philadelphia airport workers in their fight for higher wages.

Now Ingram has been selected by the Working Families party to be a member of New York’s Electoral College body in this year’s presidential election. According to the New York Times, she will cast one of the state’s 29 votes. The Constitution requires that the president and the vice president be chosen by the Electoral College, which has 538 members — 270 votes equals a win.

Ingram was born in Georgia in 1923, when blacks were constititionally allowed to vote but disenfranchisement was rampant. Her own grandmother had herself been a slave who lived to be 108 years old in freedom. Ingram left Georgia and moved to New York when she was 20, got married and has six children and 19 great-grandchildren. She worked in a Brooklyn shoe factory by day for more than 50 years and took on the cleaning job at night.

Ingram still works 40 hours a week cleaning the midtown Manhattan office. According to Black America Web, Ingram has always been active in politics. She spent time volunteering in campaigns from President John F. Kennedy to Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to be elected to Congress. She’s also a longtime member of the Service Employees International Union. The labor movement means everything to her.

“I followed the union in politics,” she said to the New York Times, where she declared her support for “Hillary all the way.”

“First lady, U.S. senator, secretary of state — I’d say she’s prepared,” Ingram said. The Times also reported her opinion of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“What does he know about being president?” Ingram asked. “He has got everybody’s mind twisted. How can you talk about human beings the way he does and then go back and ask them to vote for you?”

Ingram said she hasn’t seen a doctor in 37 years — since 1999, when she fell in Caldor’s department store after someone spilled water. She stays healthy by eating fresh vegetables from a farm.

“Collard greens and black-eyed peas, cornbread, baked chicken,” she said. “And pork chops. Pork, morning, noon and night.” She owns homes in the Poconos in Pennsylvania and Brooklyn.

Ingram is an inspiration to those old and young, and we’d say she’s totally undefeated.

Kelley Evans is a general editor at The Undefeated. She is a food passionista, helicopter mom and an unapologetic southerner who spends every night with the cast of The Young and the Restless by way of her couch.