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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

WALKER, HAZEL MOUNTAIN

WALKER, HAZEL MOUNTAIN

WALKER, HAZEL MOUNTAIN (16 Feb. 1889-16 May 1980), the first black Cleveland school principal and among the first black women admitted to practice law in Ohio, was born in Warren, Ohio, daughter of Charles and Alice (Bronson) Mountain. She graduated from Cleveland Normal Training School, received bachelor's and master's degrees (1909) in education from Western Reserve University, and from 1909-36 taught at Mayflower Elementary School, known for teaching reading to children whose families either could not read or spoke no English. During the summers, Walker studied law at BALDWIN-WALLACE COLLEGE, receiving her degree and passing the bar examination in 1919. She had no intention of practicing law, but wanted to prove black women could become lawyers. She worked with juvenile court, tutoring black children from the South having problems adjusting to Cleveland schools. In 1936, Walker became principal of Rutherford B. Hayes Elementary School; then of Geo. Washington Carver Elementary School in 1954, serving until retiring in 1958. She was elected to the Ohio State Board of Education in 1961 but resigned in 1963 when she moved out of state. Walker was an early member of and actress at KARAMU HOUSE and is credited with choosing the theater's name in 1924. She was also active in politics, serving on the CUYAHOGA COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY executive committee in the 1930s. She was one of the first AFRICAN AMERICANS to become a member of the WOMEN'S CITY CLUB. Walker married twice. Her first husband, Geo. Herbert Walker, whom she married on 28 June 1922, died in 1956; in 1961 she married Joseph R. Walker of Mass. Walker had no children. She died in Cleveland.