Strong Rooted Volume I: April 11, 2017
Eva Beatrice Dykes (August 13, 1893-October 29, 1986) was the first Black woman to complete the requirements for a Ph.D., but the third to be awarded the degree because of when graduation was held at Radcliffe. Dr. Dykes earned her Ph.D. in Language Studies from Radcliffe University. Born and raised in Washington D.C., Dr. Radcliffe attended Howard University where she completed a Bachelors of Arts degree Summa Cum Laude and went on to earn a second Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts degree Cum laude from Radcliffe University.
Dr. Dykes taught English at Walden University and Howard University and went on to become the chair of the English Department at Oakwood University. Like many of our Black Heroines, Dr. Dykes was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sororities Alpha chapter.
Dr. Dykes was a devout Seven Day Adventist who would not sacrifice her faith for her work, and as a result, she was rewarded greatly for it. Seeing how devoted she was to her religion made the President of the University understand that she would bring that same level of devotion to her work as the Department Chair.
Dr. Dykes died in 1986 leaving a lifelong legacy of determination and success for women of color to take from and grow with.
“Give light and people will find the way.” – Ella Baker