01/14/2013 06:17 pm ET Updated Jan 14, 2013

William A. McClain, Cincinnati Judge, Celebrates 100th Birthday Among Hundreds Of Admirers (VIDEO)

More Americans are hitting the 100-year-old mark than ever before, according to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, but not everyone gets to do it surrounded by hundreds of adoring friends.

It's one of many things that sets Cincinnati Judge William A. McClain apart. And friends, he says, are the secret to his success.

"Life has been good to me. I had some good friends who led me along the way," McClain told NBC News affiliate WLWT, reflecting on his 100th birthday fete -- which drew hundreds to Allen Temple AME Church in Cincinnati -- and on the barriers he broke in the field of law, becoming the first black member of the Cincinnati Bar Association in 1951.

"The great miracle was, I was born out of wedlock to a teenaged mother and I had a father who could not read or write," McClain went on to say. "I overcame those obstacles to achieve my manhood."

Check out Judge McClain's inspiring story in the video above and some words of wisdom from fellow centenarians in the slideshow below.



Long Life: 'Extraordinary Centenarians' Reveal The Secrets To Reaching 100

Secrets To Living A Long Life From Centenarians