One of last sur­vivors of 1921 Tulsa race riot

Chicago Sun-Times (Sunday) - - OBITUARIES - BY KEN MILLER

OK­LA­HOMA CITY — Olivia Hooker, one of the last sur­vivors of the 1921 Tulsa race ri­ots and among the first black women in the U.S. Coast Guard, has died. She was 103.

Ms. Hooker was 6 years old when one of the worst race ri­ots in U.S. his­tory broke out and de­stroyed much of a Tulsa neigh­bor­hood known as “Black Wall Street.” She hid un­der a ta­ble as a torch-car­ry­ing mob de­stroyed her fam­ily’s home, she told Na­tional Pub­lic Ra­dio in an in­ter­view this year.

She re­called hear­ing the mob use an ax to de­stroy her sis­ter’s pi­ano. For a child, she said, it was hor­ri­fy­ing try­ing to keep quiet.

“The most shock­ing was see­ing peo­ple you’d never done any­thing to ir­ri­tate would just, took it upon them­selves to de­stroy your prop­erty be­cause they didn’t want you to have those things,” said Ms. Hooker, who died this week at her home in New York, ac­cord­ing to her god­daugh­ter.

The num­ber of deaths from the riot was never con­firmed, but es­ti­mates vary from about three dozen to 300 or more. The vi­o­lence be­gan af­ter a black man al­legedly as­saulted a white wo­man in an el­e­va­tor in Tulsa.

Fol­low­ing the ri­ots, Ms. Hooker’s fam­ily moved. And dur­ing World War II, she be­came the first African-Amer­i­can wo­man to join the U.S. Coast Guard as a mem­ber of the Sem­per Para­tus pro­gram, or SPAR, in which she pre­pared dis­charges for guards­men re­turn­ing from the war and re­join­ing civil­ian life, ac­cord­ing to the Coast Guard.

“She was a na­tional trea­sure, she was a very spe­cial lady,” Coast Guard spokesman Barry Lane said.

She went on to earn a mas­ter’s de­gree from Co­lum­bia Uni­ver­sity and a Ph.D. in psy­chol­ogy from the Uni­ver­sity of Rochester and later worked as a pro­fes­sor at Ford­ham Uni­ver­sity in New York, ac­cord­ing to the Coast Guard.

Her god­daugh­ter, Ja­nis Porter, said Ms. Hooker died Wed­nes­day at their home in White Plains, New York. Porter said her god­mother had no sur­viv­ing rel­a­tives. She didn’t pro­vide a cause of death.

“Her mind was clear, no de­men­tia. She was just tired,” Porter said Fri­day.

Ms. Hooker was also a mem­ber of the Tulsa Race Riot Com­mis­sion, now called the Tulsa Race Mas­sacre Com­mis­sion, which has sought repa­ra­tions for those im­pacted by the vi­o­lence and their sur­vivors.

LON­DON — Ni­co­las Roeg, a di­rec­tor of provoca­tive and oth­er­worldly films who gave Mick Jag­ger and David Bowie en­dur­ing screen roles, has died. He was 90.

The British di­rec­tor of “Don’t Look Now” and many other films died Fri­day night, his son, Ni­co­las Roeg Jr., told Bri­tain’s Press As­so­ci­a­tion.

“He was a gen­uine dad,” Roeg Jr. said Satur­day. “He just had his 90th birth­day in Au­gust.”

He didn’t pro­vide de­tails about his fa­ther’s death dur­ing a brief tele­phone call with the as­so­ci­a­tion.

Dur­ing the 1970s, Mr. Roeg sent Jenny Agut­ter and his son Luc Roeg on the Aus­tralian Out­back odyssey “Walk­a­bout;” gave Jag­ger a big-screen role in the thriller “Per­for­mance,” which was co-di­rected with Don­ald Cam­mell; and plunged Julie Christie and Don­ald Suther­land into psy­cho­log­i­cal hor­ror in the Venice-set “Don’t Look Now.”

“Don’t Look Now” be­came fa­mous for its re­al­is­tic de­pic­tion of sex. Mr. Roeg said later that ru­mors the sex had been real were “very flat­ter­ing” be­cause that meant peo­ple felt the film was authen­tic.

Suther­land said Mr. Roeg was “a fear­less vi­sion­ary.”

“He was a lib­er­at­ing joy to work for,” Suther­land said in a state­ment. “I fell in love with him then and will love him for­ever.”

In “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” Mr. Roeg di­rected Bowie — per­fectly cast and sub­limely strange — as an alien who crashes on Earth look­ing for a way to save his own planet.

Bowie’s son, film­maker Dun­can Jones, wrote on Twit­ter: “Just heard an­other great sto­ry­teller, the inim­itable Ni­co­las Roeg left us to­day. What an in­cred­i­ble body of work he’s left us with!”

Mr. Roeg’s later films in­clude the in­tel­lec­tu­ally play­ful “In­signif­i­cance,” in which Al­bert Ein­stein matched wits with Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe. His last ma­jor film was “The Witches,” in 1990, a Roald Dahl adap­ta­tion which starred An­jel­ica Hus­ton.

The British Film In­sti­tute has named “Don’t Look Now” and “Per­for­mance” as two of the great­est films in Bri­tain’s Top 100 film poll.

Born in Lon­don in 1928, Mr. Roeg worked his way into di­rect­ing af­ter win­ning ac­claim as a cin­e­matog­ra­pher. He be­gan his ca­reer as an edit­ing ap­pren­tice in 1947 — among his du­ties was serv­ing tea.

Mr. Roeg worked on ma­jor films in­clud­ing “Lawrence of Ara­bia” and “Fahren­heit 451” be­fore he en­tered the di­rect­ing ranks in 1970. He said he couldn’t un­der­stand how some­one could be­come a di­rec­tor without first work­ing in cin­e­matog­ra­phy.

Mr. Roeg didn’t be­lieve in metic­u­lous plan­ning when it came to scripts and shoot­ing sched­ules, pre­fer­ring to give him­self room to ma­neu­ver and im­pro­vise as needed. He was fond of say­ing that God laughed at peo­ple who made too many elab­o­rate plans.

“I shoot a lot of stuff,” he once said in an in­ter­view for the book “Talk­ing Movies.” “I think that’s prob­a­bly come from not hav­ing gone to film school. Things work them­selves out. You’ve lost the show­man­ship thing, the fair­ground barker, come-see-what’s-in­side as­pect of film­mak­ing when you try to plan ev­ery­thing for the au­di­ence.”

Mr. Roeg was mar­ried three times, in­clud­ing to ac­tress Theresa Rus­sell, and had six chil­dren.


Olivia Hooker at age 90 in 2005 gives her per­sonal ac­count of the his­toric Tulsa race riot at a brief­ing with mem­bers of the Con­gres­sional Black Cau­cus on Capi­tol Hill in Wash­ing­ton.


Ni­co­las Roeg (right) and ac­tors Gary Busey (from left), Theresa Rus­sell, Tony Cur­tis and Michael Emil take ques­tions at a May 11, 1985, press con­fer­ence for “In­signif­i­cance” at Cannes.

Ni­co­las Roeg

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