CHICAGO (CBS) — At 103, she is the oldest resident of a Cook County Housing Authority building, and today she’s helping cut the ribbon on renovations at the apartments where she’s lived for more than 30 years.

Lucille Childress has only good things to say about the Jane R. Perlman Apartments, where she lives in Evanston.

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“One thing, there’s a lot of young people in here that I don’t know. I call them young, because they’re younger than I am,” she said.

Her grandfather and her great-grandfather were slaves. She grew up in Mississippi, and lived through segregation.

“It was something that you grew up with. That’s all you knew,” she said.

But she learned a lesson from her mother.

“She demanded respect, because she gave it,” Childress said. “She didn’t care whether you were white or black, and she always got it.”

Childress remembers when she was a girl, and the first time she saw one of the major inventions of the 20th century.

“When it came over, my mother called all of us and said, ‘Come out here and see the airplane; and the airplane, to me, it looked just like a bird flying,” she said.

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Now her grandson wants to get her a smart phone.

“So I tease him. I said, ‘No, I don’t want one. Your grandmama is too smart for them phones,” she said.

What we wanted to ask Lucille Childress was what so many have already asked her: How do you get to be 103?

She told us what she eats.

“My meat is chicken, fish, turkey.”

And greens:

“Spinach, turnips and collards.”

And she lives a clean life.

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“Never drank alcohol. No smoking; I never smoked a cigarette in my life,” she said.