Hazel M. Walker, an Ohio pioneer


Hazel M. Walker (Center)
Date: 
Sat, 1889-02-16

*Hazel Mountain Walker was born on this date in 1889. She was an African American lawyer and educator.

From Warren, Ohio, she was the daughter of Charles and Alice (Bronson) Mountain. Walker attended Cleveland Normal Training School and in 1909 earned a Bachelor's and Master's in Education from Western Reserve University. During the summers, when she was not teaching, Walker worked towards a Law Degree at Baldwin-Wallace College.

She earned her degree and passed the bar in 1919; her motivation was not to become a lawyer but rather to prove that Black women could become lawyers. Walker taught students who came from homes where no English was spoken and/or their families could not read at the Mayflower Elementary School from 1909-36.   She also tutored Black children from the juvenile court system who were from the South and having trouble adjusting to Cleveland schools. Walker married George Herbert Walker on June 28, 1922; he died in 1956. Walker was the first Black school principal in Cleveland where she became principal at Rutherford B. Hayes Elementary School in 1936 and in 1954 became the principal at George Washington Carver Elementary School until she retired in 1958. 

She married Joseph R. Walker of Massachusetts in 1961. She did not have any children. Also in 1961 Walker was elected to serve on the Ohio State Board of Education; she resigned in 1963 and them moved out of state. Walker was one of the first African Americans to be a part of the Women's City Club. Walker is attributed with naming Karamu House in 1924 where she was a member and actress. She was a member of the Cuyahoga County Republican Party executive committee during the 1930s. 

Hazel M. Walker died on May 16, 1980 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Reference:
Marian J. Morton
Women In Cleveland:  an Illustrated History. 
Bloomington:  Indiana University Press, 1995.

The Western Reserve Historical Society
10825 East Boulevard,
Cleveland, OH 44106,
216-721-5722

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