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  • January 26, 2012. Monroeville, Alabama.
    The late Emma Lou Dailey (audio and photo)

    She used to sharecrop cotton, and at one farm they'd feed her lunch and sometimes breakfast, too.

    I met her when she was 91, hospitalized, and two months from death. All she wanted was cornbread and buttermilk, but the hospital didn't have any. She had water instead, and a banana.

    When I hugged her goodbye, I couldn't believe how light she felt. Lighter than my backpack. She was already floating away.

    ...Hear the public radio feature at
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