She Fulfilled the Impossible Dream
She Fulfilled the Impossible Dream
By DeWitt S. Williams

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"Eva Beatrice Dykes!"

Hearing her name, she lifted her head and walked briskly to the center of the stage. Polite applause could not hide the spontaneous murmur that spread throughout the all-white audience.

"Isn’t that a colored girl?" Those in the back rows stretched their necks to see, while those in the front stared in unbelief. But all whispered the same question. "Isn’t that a colored girl?"

Undaunted, she took the diploma and pumped the outstretched hand. She was the first black American to have completed the requirements for the Ph.D. degree. Soon she would begin a career of service to the black community, first at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, then Howard University in Washington, D.C., and finally the black senior college of her adopted faith, Oakwood College, near Huntsville, Alabama. One of the most beloved black Seventh-day Adventist teachers, she contributed an inspiring life of selfless devotion and service and triumph over prejudice. She played a significant part in advancing the role of blacks in the SDA Church.