A Sweet Aftertaste
By Ian Mount

(FORTUNE Small Business) – WHEN EMMA FAUST TILLMAN died on Jan. 28, she left behind not only the title of oldest person in the world (at 114 years and 67 days) but also a legacy of entrepreneurship developed against long odds. The daughter of former slaves from North Carolina, Tillman moved to Connecticut with her family in 1900, and she became the first black graduate of Glastonbury High School. But because racial discrimination wouldn't allow her an office job, she started her own company. "She wasn't going to go to the tobacco field or clean houses. So she took her cooking skills and baking skills and turned them into a prominent business," says her grandnephew John Stewart Jr. Her customers included baseball great Jackie Robinson (who liked her cakes enough to have them brought to New York City), local bank and insurance executives, and Dr. Thomas Hepburn, Katharine Hepburn's father. "I can remember the way she baked a pound cake," says Stewart. "She could make a cake taste like no other cake had tasted before."