Ola Scroggins Ford, 93, taught 65 years, including 5 at Morgan

December 28, 1997|By Mike Bowler | Mike Bowler,SUN STAFF

Ola Scroggins Ford, the granddaughter of slaves whose 65-year teaching career included five years at Morgan State University, died of kidney failure Wednesday at Northwest Hospital Center. She was 93.

Mrs. Ford was born in Wetumpka, Ala., a few miles from Tuskegee Institute, when Booker T. Washington was the school's president. She was educated in Alabama, starting in a one-room school at age 4. In 1933, she became one of the first black women to earn a bachelor's degree in science from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

She was a home economics teacher and social worker before moving to her real love, teaching English. She earned a bachelor's degree in English from Langston University in Oklahoma in 1939 and a master's in English language and literature from Kansas State University in 1942.

Mrs. Ford's teaching career included schools in Oklahoma and various colleges and universities, including 16 years at Jackson State College in Mississippi.

After marrying her second husband, Nick Aaron Ford, a professor at Morgan, she began teaching there in 1968, retiring in 1973. Mr. Ford died in 1982.

"She was a wonderful teacher and a student of reading and writing until her death," said Mrs. Ford's cousin, Freeman A. Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, with whose family Mrs. Ford had lived since 1992. In recent years, Dr. Hrabowski said, Mrs. Ford had been working on her autobiography. Last year, at 92, she coordinated a Scroggins family reunion.

She is survived by numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

Services will be held at noon Tuesday at Enon Baptist Church, Edmondson Avenue and Schroeder Street, where Mrs. Ford had been an active member for many years.

Donations may be made to the Nick and Ola Ford Scholarship Endowment, in care of the University of Maryland Foundation, Office of Advancement, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, Md., 21250.

Pub Date: 12/28/97

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