Tulsa Community Mourns Death Of 1921 Race Riot Survivor
TULSA, Oklahoma - The Tulsa Community is mourning the passing of one of the last known survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riots.
Dr. Olivia Hooker died on Wednesday at her home in New York. Those who knew Dr. Olivia Hooker called her an advocate, an activist, a volunteer, and someone who fought for equality right up until her death this morning at the age of 103.
Olivia Hooker was just 6-year-old when the race riot broke out in 1921.
"She said never let them forget," said Chief Williams of the African Ancestral Society.
She would go on to become a psychologist, professor of psychology, and the first African-American woman to enlist in the United States Coast Guard. Today, a Coast Guard Training Center in Washington D.C. is named in her honor.
"She was an advocate for Americans with disabilities, working tirelessly on mental health issues in correctional facilities and, at the age of 95, began volunteering in the Coast Guard Auxiliary," says Admiral Karl Schultz the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard.
But, Dr. Hooker never forgot where she came from and made sure people remembered what happened in 1921 while advocating for justice. She was a founding member of the state’s Race Riot Commission.
"She carried a mindset a real progressive mindset and one of the things that I loved the most about her is that she understood the concept of purpose," said Chief Williams.
And that concept of purpose carried Dr. Hooker throughout her 103 years. This afternoon, Pastor Robert Turner led a bible study service to remember and pay tribute to the women he calls the Queen.
"She's a champion she had an undying spirit that her good will toward her neighbor was not even quenched by the terrible incident in 1921," said Pastor Turner.
Serving her country and while remaining on the front lines fighting for what she believed in.
"For her to put her life on the line to do that it really showed a lot to me about her perseverance her faith and her activism," said Turner.
A remembrance service will be held Friday afternoon at the Historic Vernon A.M.E. Church.