National Oklahoma City Douglass High School Alumni Association

P.O. Box 1891, Oklahoma City, OK 73101-1891

Thelma Parks, civil rights leader and iconic Oklahoma City educator, dies at 96

School officials say Parks "gave 54 years of service to the district as an educator and school board member."

The district released the following statement on Wednesday:

"We remember the life of the great Mrs.Thelma Reece Parks who passed away today at the age of 96.

Thelma Parks gave 54 years of service to #OKCPS as an educator and school board member. Her influence and legacy extend beyond our classrooms and into our great city. She championed students and fought for equity for each child.

The OKCPS family is grateful that her powerful legacy lives on in the transformational work happening for the students of Thelma R. Parks Elementary. We celebrate her life and her service with her family and friends."

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Comment by Gloria Dulan-Wilson on October 10, 2019 at 12:24pm

Wow - Ms. Parks has made her Transition to the realm of the Ancestor/Angels.  She was my guidance counselor at Douglass Sr. Highschool - and that was as far back as 1960 - that was nearly 60 years ago.  And if that's the case, that means that she only recently stopped working.  She was always trying to make sure put our best efforts forward.   I remember going to her office to determine what my best career choice would be.   I took all the personality tests she administered to me. Then one day I suddenly realized what I wanted to be - I wanted to be Thelma Parks.  I wanted to help youth decide what their career goals would be.  In fact, I got my MS in Academic Guidance and Counseling from Hunter College, CUNY - and worked as a guidance counselor on the middle school, high school and college level for years in California and New York City.  I was also an activist - because Ms. Parks was the one who taught us to have the courage of our convictions (along with Ms. Lola B. Greer, and Clara Luper, Mr. Buford and Sam Harris). 

Since graduating from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania (the first HBCU in the world),  where I was peer counselor to African students from non-independent African nations, I  eventually evolved from the realm of academia, and have been involved in a variety of career choices, including Media, politics, writing, real estate - to name a few, but never lost the basic ethics and discipline for which we are so famous in Oklahoma City.  I compare our lives, education and quality of living in Oklahoma to those of my peers, and I admit that I have a tendency to brag:  all our teachers, counselors, administrators, staff, janitorial and cafeteria personnel were BLACK - And we had the best; the creme of the crop - and that puts Ms. Parks right there on top.

Ms. Parks was always beautiful, well dressed, expressive, articulate, elegant and direct.  I absolutely loved her for that.  She set such a wonderful example of how to be a Black woman.   Of course, all our teachers and counselors at both Douglass and Moon Jr. High School were like that.  And we were blessed to have had them in our lives.  Like most Oklahomans, Ms. Parks managed to live to a ripe old age, make her mark on the world, and leave a legacy.  She also retained her beauty (because Good Black don't crack).   I only regret that I did not have the opportunity of meeting with her since my graduation from Douglass - as usual, she was always busy.  But I thank her profusely for all she did and tried to do during the time I was growing and evolving in Oklahoma City.  I always carry a bit of Oklahoma City with me - where ever I go.  She, and all my teachers, taught me to Black and Proud.  I am so happy that these qualities were instilled in me by all our teachers from Kindergarten all the way through high school.  These are the same qualities I passed on to my three beautiful off spring, and they are not sharing them with their own children.

My condolences to her family, friends, neighbors, and those of us Douglass Sr. High School students who had the honor, privilege and pleasure of working with and benefiting from her wisdom, knowledge and understanding.  I know she's looking at us from the realm of the Ancestor/Angels with much love.

Stay Blessed &

ECLECTICALLY BLACK

Gloria Dulan-Wilson

Douglass Sr. High School '63

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Thelma Parks, civil rights leader and iconic Oklahoma City educator, dies at 96

School officials say Parks "gave 54 years of service to the district as an educator and school board member."

The district released the following statement on Wednesday:

"We remember the life of the great Mrs.Thelma Reece Parks who passed away today at the age of 96.

Thelma Parks gave 54 years of service…

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