By C.N. Staff Writer
Dr. Olivia Hooker, the first African-American woman to actively enroll in the U.S. Coast Guard, was honored with two commemorative namesakes at US Coast Guard facilities in March. The training facility on Staten Island, USCG named a dinning hall after Dr. Hooker, who is 100 years old, along with a training facility at the Coast Guard’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Hooker said, “Oh, this is beyond my wildest dreams. I’d never even imagine. It’s still astonishing to me. I’m so grateful that the sun was shining today and we were able to get here.”
In 1945 Hooker enrolled in the Coast Guard, becoming the nation’s first African American female on active duty. During her time with the Coast Guard, Dr. Hooker earned the Yeoman, Second Class rank. Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, she also went on to found The Tulsa Race Riot Commission in hopes of demanding reparations for the less than a dozen survivors of one of the worst race riots in history.
Since then, she continued working and receiving degrees from Ohio State University, a Masters Degree in Psychological Services from Teachers College at Columbia University, and a Doctoral Degree from the University of Rochester. She finally decided to retire at the age of 87.
Five years ago, at age 95, Dr. Hooker joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the service’s civilian reserve.