Olivia Hooker, first black girl to serve in U.S. Coast Guard, dies at 103

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Olivia Hooker, first black girl to serve in U.S. Coast Guard, dies at 103

Olivia J. Hooker, the primary black girl to affix the U.S. Coast Guard, a professor at Fordham College and the final recognized survivor of the Tulsa Race Riots of 1921, died Wednesday at age 103 in White Plains, N.Y.

Admiral Karl Schultz tweeted his condolences to her household:

“On behalf of the women and men of the #USCG, we lengthen our honest condolences to the household of Dr. Olivia Hooker, who handed away as we speak at 103. In 1945, she was the primary African-American feminine to enlist within the #USCG.”

The U.S. Coast Guard echoed Schultz with its personal condolences for one in all its personal:

“It’s with nice unhappiness to be taught of the passing of Dr. Olivia Hooker, 103, a pioneer within the historical past of girls & minorities within the @USCG & the Nation. On behalf of the #USCG, we’d like to increase our honest condolences to Dr. Hooker’s household.”

Hooker was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, in 1915. She was six years previous when her household survived the violent, underreported Tulsa Riots of 1921 in Oklahoma, thought of one of many worse race riots in U.S. historical past. Reportedly, the riots began when a black man allegedly attacked a white girl in an elevator. Also referred to as the Black Wall Road Riots, they passed off within the predominantly black Greenwood neighborhood.

Nationwide Public Radio and The New York Instances reported that Hooker hid below a desk because the Klan burned the household residence and took an axe to her sister’s piano. Goddaughter Janis Porter relayed to Instances Hooker’s response to the assault:

“Essentially the most surprising was seeing folks you’d by no means accomplished something to annoy would simply, took it upon themselves to destroy your property as a result of they did not need you to have these issues.”

After surviving the assault, the Hookers moved to Topeka, Kansas, then Columbus, Ohio. She graduated highschool in 1937, earned a bachelor’s diploma in training from Ohio State College and taught grade college in Columbus.

In 1945, throughout World Warfare II and a 12 months after President Franklin Roosevelt opened feminine navy corps to all minorities, Olivia Hooker joined Semper Pratus, or SPAR, the Coast Guard Girls’s Reserve.

Beforehand, solely Caucasian girls may serve in SPAR and the Navy’s Girls’s Reserve, higher often called the WAVES  for the  Girls Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service , or WAVES.

Encompassing a lifetime of accomplishment, Hooker earned a grasp’s diploma from Columbia College, a PhD in psychology from the College of Rochester and have become a professor at Fordham College in New York.

Hooker was a member of the Tulsa Race Riot Fee, now known as the Tulsa Race Bloodbath Fee, which has sought reparations for the hundreds affected by the violence and their survivors, based on The New York Instances.

In 2015, Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Paul Zukunft devoted a Washington, D.C.-based middle, the Dr. Olivia J. Hooker Coaching Middle, to her. It’s positioned at U.S. Coast Guard headquarters, reported the Coast Guard Compass.

One among her quotes adorns the wall devoted to her: 

“It isn’t about you, or me, but it surely’s about what we may give to this world.”  

Porter mentioned her godmother had no surviving kin.

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