This week marks the a hundredth anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst race riots in U.S. historical past, which destroyed a lot of a Tulsa neighborhood generally known as “Black Wall Street.” Dr. Olivia Hooker was 6 years previous on that day, and hid beneath a desk as a torch-carrying mob destroyed her dwelling. Hooker died in 2018 at 103 years old — she was one of the oldest survivors of the massacre. A 12 months earlier than her dying, The Post spoke to her about her recollections of the devastating evening — and the efforts to maneuver ahead as a rustic. “I lived a long time, but I didn’t live long enough to see justice,” she mentioned at the time. Here’s a glance again on that dialog.
At 102 years previous, Olivia Hooker remembers almost every little thing from her life — names of previous associates, necessary dates from her upbringing, the private histories of her mother and father and grandparents.
The White Plains, NY resident and retired psychology professor remembers the date she entered the US Coast Guard on March 8, 1945 — the first African-American girl to take action — and the days she graduated from Ohio State University, bought her grasp’s at Columbia University, and obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Rochester. She can recall her retirement from Fordham University when she was 87 years previous.
But what she remembers most vividly was the day the Ku Klux Klan got here to her Tulsa, Oklahoma, home in 1921, when she was simply 6 years previous. The mob trashed the breakfast her mom had ready for Hooker and her 4 siblings, took a hatchet to her household’s piano and destroyed their phonograph and information.
“People say, ‘How do you remember all that?’ But that kind of experience is in your mind for the rest of your life,” she says.
The Tulsa race riots are believed to be the worst incident of racial violence in American historical past, leading to the deaths of an estimated 300 African-Americans. The massacre nonetheless angers her, however the recommendation of her mother and father has helped her maintain her head excessive since.
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“Our parents taught us: ‘Don’t waste your time hating,’” she says. “Try to think of something good to make it less likely that this could happen again.”
She says she’s undecided why she’s lived so long as she has, although she does credit score not ingesting or smoking for her good well being.
Hooker is fast to smile as she seems throughout her lounge wall, which serves as a museum of her pictures of her with former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, proclamations from cities and awards for volunteerism.
“Yes,” she says, “I do have a lot of joy in my life.”