“I never thought I’d live to see this.”
Lester Townsend is 108 years old. Lester Townsend is the grandson of a slave. Last week, Lester Townsend had a dream realized when he shook hands with the President Obama.
POTUS and Townsend had the privilege of meeting at a townhall in South Bend, Indiana where Obama was speaking.
Upon shaking the hand of the first African American President, Townsend marveled in disbelief.
“The grandson of a slave shaking hands with the president of the United States,” Townsend said. “I never thought I’d live to see this.”
The President was in awe of Townsend's age, tenacity and excitement.
"What an honor it is to have you here," said Obama. "I'm just going to make sure I look half as good as you when I'm 100 much less 108."
Though Townsend has lived through countless events including 19 sitting Presidents and the Civil Rights movement, he told WNDU that meeting the Commander-in-Chief is a blessing he will never forget.
"We've come from a long way," Townsend said. "My grandfather, he and his brother were given to his old master for his daughter's wedding present. They were young men but they were given to him. I tell you, to think how far we have been behind and come this far, we're not there yet, but we're on our way."
WANT MORE FROM ESSENCE? Subscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest in hair, beauty, style and celebrity news.