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Water Under the Bridge


Olivia Hooker

Olivia Hooker

A U.S. Army publication writes about Olivia Hooker, a 98-year-old former college professor and graduate of Teachers College who was one of the first African American female members in the Coast Guard SPAR program during World War II.

The story reports that after teaching third grade in Columbus, Ohio, Hooker applied to the Navy multiple times but was denied due to a technicality. After writing to the Navy to dispute her rejection, Hooker was accepted, yet had already made up her mind to join the Coast Guard in February 1945.

“The Coast Guard recruiter was just so welcoming,” says Hooker. “She wanted to be the first one to enroll an African American.”

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