[Congressional Record Volume 161, Number 21 (Monday, February 9, 2015)]
[Page S855]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                    TRIBUTE TO DR. OLIVIA J. HOOKER

 Mrs. GILLIBRAND. Mr. President, I wish to pay tribute to Dr. 
Olivia J. Hooker, a leader whose commitment to service has lifted the 
lives of many Americans. As the first African American woman to serve 
in Active Duty in the U.S. Coast Guard, and as a survivor of the Tulsa 
Race Riots and founder of the Tulsa Race Riot Commission, Dr. Hooker is 
a pioneer and role model for all to follow. I am especially proud to 
recognize Dr. Hooker on her centennial birthday.
  During this momentous occasion, we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Olivia 
J. Hooker, whose strength and spirit have enriched our society.
  Dr. Hooker was born in Oklahoma in 1915. In 1921, her community in 
Tulsa was destroyed in the worst race riot in United States history. 
The Tulsa Race Riot caused over 300 fatalities, as well as the burning 
of over 1,000 homes and businesses.
  Following the riot, Dr. Hooker helped found the Tulsa Race Riot 
Commission. The commission served to draft recommendations for 
restitution. The advocacy of Dr. Hooker and her allies led them to 
testify before the Oklahoma State Legislature and U.S. Congress.
  Dr. Hooker attended The Ohio State University after her family moved 
to Columbus, OH. After earning a bachelor's degree, Dr. Hooker applied 
to join the Navy, but was denied because of her race. Dr. Hooker then 
applied to join the Coast Guard, and became the first African American 
female to serve there. In 1942, Federal legislation created the U.S. 
Coast Guard Women's Reserve--the program known as SPAR. Dr. Hooker 
separated from the Coast Guard at the rank of petty officer 2nd class, 
with a Good Conduct Medal.
  Dr. Hooker went on to earn her master's degree from Teachers College 
at Columbia University, and then a doctorate in psychology from the 
University of Rochester. Dr. Hooker had a long, remarkable career as a 
professor in New York. After retiring at the age of 87, she continues 
to inspire and support women joining the military, and believes our 
country prospers because of its diversity.
  Dr. Hooker broke barriers in our Nation. Her story inspires many 
people who have faced adversity and discrimination. Dr. Hooker's 
legacy, accomplishments, and spirit will live on in our Nation.