Gov. Henry Orders Flags At Half-Staff To Honor Hannah Atkins

Wednesday, June 23rd 2010, 1:48 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Gov. Brad Henry issued an executive order to fly flags at half-staff Thursday and Friday to honor the life of Hannah Atkins.

Atkins, a distinguished state official and civil rights advocate, died on June 17 at the age of 86. Her body will lie in state in the state Capitol on Thursday.

Funeral services will be held Friday at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral in Oklahoma City.

"Hannah Atkins was a dear friend and a great Oklahoman, and it is only appropriate that we honor her life and accomplishments in this manner," said Gov. Brad Henry.  "

We will miss Hannah, but we will never forget her or her dedicated public service that helped bring positive change to Oklahoma."

Atkins was the first black woman elected to the Oklahoma House, winning an Oklahoma City-area district seat in 1968. Atkins also was the first woman to chair a House committee and she also served as secretary of state, secretary of human resources and secretary of social services.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed Atkins as a delegate to the General Assembly of the United Nations, and she served as commissioner to the U.N. Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Atkins also held numerous teaching positions throughout her career, serving as an instructor at the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University and the University of Central Oklahoma.