Last survivor of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot — and the first black woman to join the Coast Guard — dies at 103
The last known survivor of the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 — and the first black woman to enlist in the Coast Guard — died at the age of 103 on Thanksgiving Eve.
Tulsa’s KFOR reported that Dr. Olivia Hooker was just six years old “when her entire neighborhood was decimated in the chaos” of the the riot sometimes referred to as the “Tulsa Pogrom.”
White Tulsans ostensibly began slaughtering black residents and burning buildings in the city’s Greenwood “Black Wall Street” district when a black man was accused of assaulting a white woman, the report noted.
Hundreds of people were killed in the massacre and more than 800 were injured.
Hooker’s mother, NPR reported earlier in 2018, hid her and her siblings under a table while white men trounced through their backyard with torches.
Her family left Oklahoma after the riots and moved to Columbus, Ohio, and she later attended the Ohio State University where she advocated for female admittance to the Navy, the American Psychological Association noted of the pioneering psychologist.
She joined the Coast Guard in 1945, the Department of Defense noted in a 2013 profile, and was one of five black women in her class.
Hooker later became a renowned psychologist and civil rights activist and worked to create the Tulsa Race Riot Commission in 1997 which KFOR noted was a project that investigated the riots and advocated for reparations.
“For decades, Oklahoma schools did not talk about it,” Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) told KFOR. “In fact, newspapers didn’t even print any information about the Tulsa Race Riot. It was completely ignored. It was one of those horrible events that everyone wanted to just sweep up the rug and ignore.”
Family and friends told the location station that Hooker is to be buried in New York.
Read posts commemorating the celebrated psychologist’s life and legacy below:
The @USCG has learned of the passing of Dr. Olivia Hooker. She was one of the first African Americans in the SPAR’s and was a pioneer for women in the service. We send our condolences to her friends and family. To read more about her legacy: https://t.co/et284IgQuf pic.twitter.com/whEyX1vjO8# p #12_27 # ad skipped = true #
— USCG_Tri_State (@USCG_Tri_State) November 21, 2018# p #13_27 # ad skipped = true #
R.I.P. to Olivia Hooker. She was among the last known survivors of the Tulsa race massacre. She was 6 years old at the time of the 1921 massacre in Tulsa’s Greenwood District. pic.twitter.com/NSJwsh3MaL# p #14_27 # ad skipped = true #
— Sankofa TravelHer (@SankofaTravelHr) November 22, 2018# p #15_27 # ad skipped = true #
RIP Olivia Hooker. She was the last survivor of the Burning of Black Wall Street, a racially motivated attack. It left some 3,000 African Americans dead & over 600 successful businesses lost, 21 churches, 21 restaurants, 30 grocery stores, a hospital etc.https://t.co/o8LZmGCeJp pic.twitter.com/YnaFKBdBfq# p #16_27 # ad skipped = true #
— 3ChicsPolitico (@3ChicsPolitico) November 21, 2018# p #17_27 # ad skipped = true #
# p #18_27 # ad skipped = true #
— Dr. Scyatta Wallace (@sassysagesays) November 21, 2018# p #19_27 # ad skipped = true #
“Olivia J. Hooker was the first African-American woman to have entered the U.S. Coast Guard, which she did in February 1945, and a psychologist and professor.” Rest In Peace Dr. Hooker💔 #OliviaHooker #first #103yearsyoung #POISED pic.twitter.com/7GpzHs3OO4# p #20_27 # ad skipped = true #
— Poised Magazine (@PoisedMagazine) November 21, 2018# p #21_27 # ad skipped = true #
I am sad to report that Dr. Olivia J. Hooker, the last known survivor of the Tulsa Race Riots, who I interview for an August column entitled, “Eyewitness to the Desolation of ‘Black Wall Street,’” passes away last night. She was 103. https://t.co/n8Fvaz16B3 pic.twitter.com/RHa0QyEfnl# p #22_27 # ad skipped = true #
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) November 21, 2018# p #23_27 # ad skipped = true #
It is with great sadness to learn of the passing of Dr. Olivia Hooker, 103, a pioneer in the history of women & minorities in the @USCG & the Nation. On behalf of the #USCG, we’d like to extend our sincere condolences to Dr. Hooker’s family. pic.twitter.com/Aw4N4voOkj# p #24_27 # ad skipped = true #
— Admiral Karl Schultz (@ComdtUSCG) November 21, 2018# p #25_27 # ad skipped = true #
The last known Tulsa Race Riot survivor and the very FIRST African American woman to enlist in the U.S. Coast Guard, Dr. Olivia Hooker, died this week at the age of 103. When I worked for NBC New York, she said no to an interview. That’s until I told her I’m from Tulsa! Rest 🙏🏽❤️ pic.twitter.com/QJEtc6Mw4s# p #26_27 # ad skipped = true #
— DeMarco Morgan (@DeMarcoReports) November 22, 2018# p #27_27 # ad skipped = true #