Stillwater News Press

Oklahoma News

June 18, 2010

Hannah Atkins, first black woman in Oklahoma House, dies

OKLAHOMA CITY — The first black woman elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives has died.

The state House media division confirmed that Hannah Atkins died Thursday. She was 86.

Atkins was elected to an Oklahoma City-area House district in 1968 and was the first woman to chair a state House committee. She had been in office for more than a decade when Gov. Henry Bellmon named her secretary of social services. Atkins also was appointed secretary of human resources and secretary of state.

She was the highest-ranking woman in state government when she retired in 1991.

Oklahoma City Rep. Anastasia Pittman says Atkins led the way for other black women to serve in the House.

Gov. Brad Henry says Atkins was an inspirational leader who worked to improve her state and its people.

 

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