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Eva B. Dykes (1893-1986)


Eva B. Dykes was born in Washington, D.C. on August 13, 1893.  She graduated from Howard University with a B.A. degree, summa cum laude.  She attended Radcliff College and received another B.A. degree, magna cum laude, and an M.A. degree.  In 1921, Eva received a Ph.D. degree from the prestigious Radcliff College, specializing in English, Latin, German, and Greek language studies.  She was the first African-American woman to complete the requirements for a doctoral degree in the United States. 

Dr. Dykes taught at Walden University in Nashville, Tennessee, Dunbar High School and Howard University in Washington, D.C.  At Howard she was voted "the best all-around teacher by her faculty colleagues."  In 1944, she joined the faculty of Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama, where she served as chair of the English Department and the Division of Humanities.  Her willingness to leave prestigious Howard University to teach at Oakwood was a key point in the move toward accreditation for the small Adventist college.

Dr. Dykes left an indelible imprint on the lives of Oakwood’s young people for almost four decades.  Caring, but uncompromising in her teaching, she set a high standard for her students and fellow instructors.  A devout member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, she never missed an opportunity to help build faith in her students.

Dr. Dykes authored numerous articles and several books, including The Negro in English Romantic Thought.  Dr. Dykes was also a columnist for Message magazine for many years.  An outstanding pianist and organist, she founded the Aeolians and gave the choral group its unique name.

In 1973, in recognition of her outstanding career as a dedicated educator and mentor of young people, Dr. Dykes received the Certificate of Merit from the Department of Education of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist.  Also in 1973, the newly completed Oakwood University Library was named in her honor.  In 1975, Dr, Dykes was recognized at the General Conference session in Vienna, Austria, for her contribution to Christian education.  Dr. Dykes taught for more than 50 years. She died on October 29, 1986 at the age of 93.