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h atkins385Sorority Profile:  

  • Undergraduate chapter:
  • Graduate chapters:   Beta Sigma Omega (Oklahoma City)

Biographical Profile:

  • “ Born November 1, 1923.
  • Received a bachelor of science degree from Saint Augustine's College  
  • Obtained a bachelor of library science from the University of Chicago in 1949.
  • Soror Atkins held a number of positions as a law and reference librarian before moving to Oklahoma in 1952.  
  • Worked as the branch librarian for the Public Libraries (1953-56) and at the Oklahoma State Library, first in the position of reference librarian, then as the chief of the General Reference Division and acting law librarian (1962-68).
  • She also taught both law and library science courses at the.  


  • In 1968 Soror Atkins was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives, where she served as the first black   legislator until 1980. During her term as representative she fought for child welfare, health care, tax and mental health reforms, and. In 1980 she was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as a United States delegate to the Thirty-fifth Assembly of United Nations, an honor she considered the highlight of her career.
  • After her term as state representative ended, Soror Atkins was appointed assistant director of the  (1983-87) and later to the dual post of secretary of state and cabinet secretary of social services (1987-91). She held positions and memberships in the American Civil Liberties Union,  National Association of Black Women Legislators, Oklahoma Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Oklahoma Chapter of the National Women's Political Caucus (co-founder), and Oklahoma Black Political Caucus (founder). She also served in different capacities in the Democratic National Committee.
  • As you can see from the biography above, she was very politically active.  Also to note, she was jailed for supporting striking black garbage workers who wanted equal pay.  Recently, part of the highway was named in her honor – The Hannah Diggs Atkins Highway is on I-35 in Oklahoma City – article here



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