Call & Post salutes Hazel Mountain Walker.
Hazel Mountain Walker (Feb. 16, 1889 - May 16, 1980) was the first Black school principal in Cleveland Public Schools and among the first Black women admitted to practice law in Ohio.
Born in Warren, Ohio to Charles and Alice (Bronson) Mountain, Walker graduated from Cleveland Normal Training School. She received a bachelor’s and master’s degrees (1909) in education from Western Reserve University. From 1909 to 1936, she 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. With no intentions on practicing law, she worked with juvenile court and tutored Black children from the South who had problems adjusting to Cleveland schools.
In 1936, Walker became principal of Rutherford B. Hayes Elementary School. In 1954, she became principal of Geo. Washington Carver Elementary School, where she served 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 also an early member of and actress at Karamu House and is credited with choosing the theater’s name in 1924.