Shine My Crown sends their deep condolenscences to this phenomenal trail brazer, Dr. Olivia Hooker.

You may ask who was she and how did she impact our history.

Dr. Olivia J. Hooker, a survivor of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot (Black Wall Street) and the first African-American woman to enlist in the U.S. Coast Guard, had died at age 103.

Hooker was born in 1915 in Muskogee, Oklahoma. She was six years old when the Klu Klux Klan burned her father’s clothing store during the 1921 Tulsa Race Riots, according to the Coast Guard. Hooker’s family survived the riots and moved to Topeka, Kansas, and then Columbus, Ohio, where she graduated from high school in 1937. She  graduated fromOhio State University with a bachelor’s degree in education. She received her Masters ten years later in 1947 from the Teachers College of Columbia University. In 1961, she received her PhD in psychology from the University of Rochester.

During World War II, only Caucasian women were allowed to serve in a number of female military corps, Coast Guard officials said. President Franklin Roosevelt in Oct. 1944 ordered that female military corps be opened to all minorities.

She entered the U.S. Coast Guard in February 1945. On March 9, 1945, Hooker went to basic training for six weeks in Manhattan Beach, NY where Coast Guard Women’s Reserve (SPARS) had to attend class and pass exams. She became the first African-American woman to enter the U.S. Coast Guard. After basic training, Hooker specialized in the yeoman rate and remained at boot camp for an additional nine weeks before heading to Boston.

Hooker was accepted into the Coast Guard Semper Paratus “Always Ready” (SPARs) in 1945.

Throughout her life, Hooker has been a leader in civic, community, cultural and educational organizations- including the NAACP, her local White Plains Child Daycare Association and Westchester Visiting Nurse Services- and several other organizations. She has also served as a consultant on minority issues at Fordham University and as youth counselor and certified lay speaker in the United Methodist Church.

Hooker has been a pioneer in the history of women and minorities in the Coast Guard and the nation. She said her military service taught her a lot about order and priorities and how to better form relationships, and how to deal with people without bias and prejudice.