sassysage's Blog

Crowing A Queen: American hero 103 year old Dr. Olivia Hooker legacy lives on

Posted on: December 7, 2018

american hero and civil rights leader Dr. Olivia J. Hooker died on november 21st 2018 at 103 years old.  her long and trailblazing life has been written about and honored by many these last few weeks, including receiving her very own google veterans day doodle and a beautiful tribute on nbc today.

Dr. Hooker was a survivor of the infamous tulsa race massacre of 1921, otherwise known as ‘black wall street’.  She was the first african american woman to join the US coast guard in 1945.

she received her phd in psychology at university of rochester at a time when many people of color had limited access to any forms of higher education.  she went on to work with children and served as distinguished professor at fordham university. this is how i learned about her and had the pleasure of meeting her.  Dr. Hooker’s accolades are many.  but what makes her a hero and treasure to america was her boundless heart and honorable character.   

she took me in as one of her own.  i have vivid memories of taking the metro north from the bronx where i was a young doctoral student at fordham to white plains.  she would pick me up in her car and we would drive to her house.  she would offer me a home cooked meal and we would laugh the day away.  she drove down to fordham for my doctoral hooding, she cheered me on in completing my post doc, shouted with joy when i got my first job as a professor and we had a huge celebration the two of us when i got tenure!!

she was always encouraging but also clear about the challenges and barriers that lay before me as an african american female psychologist.  often our discussions would revolve about the great needs among youth in our communities.  the strength, energy and most of all passion that is needed to serve.  the importance of love, generosity and optimism.  she taught me that titles, honors and awards are nice if and when they happen. but the true mark of success is making a difference in the life of yourself and others.   

i watched with awe as through her 80s, 90s and even into her 100s, she kept serving.  living life fully until the end. it has been a true honor to know such an amazing spirit as my mentor and friend.  the beautiful small service to lay her to rest this past wednesday was so special; just like she was. she will be missed but never forgotten.   

IMG_20170221_170801 (1).jpg

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow me on Twitter

Learn more about sassysage

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: