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Hannah Diggs Atkins
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Birth: Nov. 1, 1923
Winston-Salem
Forsyth County
North Carolina, USA
Death: Jun. 17, 2010
Montgomery County
Maryland, USA

Mrs. Hannah Atkins body will lie in repose at the Oklahoma State Capital Center Building 2nd Floor Rotunda Room, Thursday June 24, 2010, 11:00AM - 3:00PM.

She will also lie in repose at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer Thursday June 24, 2010, 4:00PM - 8:00 PM.

Funeral Service: St. Paul Episcopal Cathedral located 127 Northwest 7th Street Oklahoma City, OK Friday, June 25, 2010 at 11:00 AM. Interment at Trice Hill Cemetery. Services will be under the direction of Pollard Funeral Home, Inc., Oklahoma City, OK.

Librarian, legislator, and ambassador. Hannah D Atkins 86 former Oklahoma State Representative/former Secretary of State was born November 1, 1923 to the late James and Mabel Kennedy-Diggs in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She is also preceded in death by her husband the late Dr. Charles Atkins.

She earned her undergraduate degree in 1943 from St. Augustine College in Raleigh, North Carolina. She furthered her education at the University of Chicago, where she completed a degree in library science in 1949. She also took courses at the School of Law at Oklahoma City University and earned an M.P.A. at the University of Oklahoma in 1989. She was selected to attend the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University in 1987. In addition, Mrs. Atkins holds a certificate from the Executive Leadership Development Program at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs of the University of Texas, Austin.

Hannah D. Atkins has held various positions throughout her career. She is probably best known as the first African American woman to be elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives. She served from 1968 until 1980 as the representative from the 97th District. She authored many important bills during her tenure. Among them were bills to improve care in the state's mental health system, improvement in commitment laws for the mentally ill, revisions in laws related to the criminally insane, the ERA amendment, requiring immunizations for school age children, elections of school boards by wards, adult protective services act, and open meetings laws. She was Chairwoman of the Public and Mental Health Committee. She also served on the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, Commission on Education and Professional Standards Board, and Higher Education.

In 1980 President Jimmy Carter named Atkins to the General Assembly of the 35th Session of the United Nations. She was a member of the Third Committee which concentrated on social and economic issues. Following her assignment at the United Nations she returned to Oklahoma. Between September and December 1982 she served as a consultant to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. She was also a visiting professor at University of Oklahoma.

Governor Henry Bellmon selected Atkins as Assistant Director, Department of Human Services in January 1983. Her responsibilities included the Division of Aging. She held this post until September 1987. In January 1987 she was selected as the Cabinet Secretary for Social Services. The following September Atkins' added Secretary of State to her duties and served in dual roles in the Cabinet. In addition to the traditional duties of a Secretary of State, she had oversight of the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Corrections, the Pardon and Parole Board and their related boards, councils and committees.

Atkins has held various teaching positions at University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City University and Oklahoma State University. In 1992 the Department of Political Science at Oklahoma State University honored her with the Hannah Atkins Professorship for Political Science and Government Information. Funding came not only from political science but also from Friends of the Library and many other supporters.

Mrs. Atkins has served on numerous boards of directors and as an officer in a wide variety of organizations. She has been a board member of the Joint Center for Political Studies, the president of the Oklahoma Chapter of the American Society of Public Administration, a board member of National Women's Education Fund, Women Executives in State Government, National Board of American Civil Liberties Union, National Black Child Development Institute and National Board of Trans-Africa. For ten years Atkins was chairwoman of the Oklahoma Advisory Committee of the United States Commission on Civil Rights and has been an active member of NAACP, Urban League and other civic and religious organizations.

She served on committees for the Democratic National Committee and was a Democratic National Committeewoman for eight years. She is also a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and is a licensed lay reader in the Episcopal Church.

Numerous awards have been bestowed upon Hannah Atkins. She was inducted into the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame in 1982 and the Oklahoma Afro-American Hall of Fame in 1983. She is listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in Politics and many other biographical dictionaries. In 1990 she received the National Governors' Association Award for Distinguished Service to State Government. In 1998 Atkins received an honorary doctorate from the University of Oklahoma and in 2000 an honorary doctorate from Oklahoma State University. Into the twenty-first century Atkins continued to serve her community as a member of the Oklahoma Task Force for the Bombing Memorial. She was inducted into Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2000.

She was married to Dr. Charles Atkins, a psychiatrist, on May 24, 1943. Dr. Atkins also graduated from St. Augustine College in 1941. They had three children.

Hannah Atkins is survived by two sons Edmund Atkins of Washington D.C. and Charles N Atkins Jr. of New York. One Daughter Valerie Alexander of Delaware, MD. Two daughter-in-laws, two grandchildren, one great-grandchild, three siblings, many other relatives and numerous friends.



 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Charles Atkins (1911 - 1988)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Trice Hill Cemetery
Oklahoma City
Oklahoma County
Oklahoma, USA
Plot: Section 125 West
 
Created by: In Memory
Record added: Jun 17, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 53788665
Hannah <i>Diggs</i> Atkins
Added by: In Memory
 
Hannah <i>Diggs</i> Atkins
Added by: Jackie
 
Hannah <i>Diggs</i> Atkins
Added by: In Memory
 
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University of Oklahoma, Master of Public Administration
- Janet LaMotte
 Added: May. 23, 2014
Parents: James Diggs #105932809 & Clara Diggs #96971913
- Janet LaMotte
 Added: May. 23, 2014
Inducted into Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2000
- Janet LaMotte
 Added: Apr. 17, 2014
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