Posted by Maggie Mora on April 11, 2016 in Website

Since starting our business three years ago, we’ve heard a lot of remarkable stories. Few stand out more than that of Olyvia Green, the first black teacher at Pease Elementary in Austin, Texas. In December of 2014, the Storyhouse team interviewed Ms. Green and turned the conversation into a short video. Olyvia’s contributions were honored at an African American Heritage Assembly at the downtown school where former students, fellow teachers, members of her church and the Pease Elementary community poured in to thank her and listen to her story. Today, we’re sharing both her video and story.

Olyvia Green grew up in Magnolia Arkansas, the daughter of school teachers. She moved to Pine Bluff, Arkansas to pursue a teaching degree and when she returned home, she married her High School sweetheart. When Olyvia was 26, her husband passed away and she and her two sons, ages 4 and 2 at the time, picked up and moved to Austin where she began substitute teaching. It wasn’t long before the principal of Pease Elementary, Ms. Hunter, ask that Olyvia join the staff at Pease Elementary. The year was 1968, the same year the Civil Rights Act was passed into law.

Olyvia, reluctant at first given the racial tension she knew she’d have to endure, accepted the position. She recalls an incident when she started teaching; she went to get some water when another teacher stuck a hand in her glass. “I didn’t throw the water on her,” she says, but instead went to grab some more water. When she came back, she placed the new water glass in front of the woman and told her, “Now, do you want some water? Cause if you put your hand in it this time, you gonna get the water.” After that incident, she didn’t have any more problems. Olyvia says, “I think they realized that I was there to do the same thing that they were there; to teach the children, nothing else.”

As a teacher, Olyvia set high expectations for the students, but also wanted them to have fun, always sending the kids home with a hug. Of her legacy, Olyvia says, “I’d like to be remembered as touching someone’s life along the way. I’d like to be remembered that I loved someone along the way; I made someone happy. I’d like to be remembered that I gave somebody a hug who didn’t get a hug that day.” Check out the video below for her full story, along with interviews of fellow teachers and students who help honor her legacy.

George Wallace, the then Governor of Alabama who refused to send the state’s National Guard to protect Selma marchers. During her job interview, Pease Elementary’s principal at the time, Ms. Hunter, asked Olyvia whether she thought George Wallace was prejudiced to which she responded, “Now, you know he’s prejudiced!” Ms. Hunter, impressed by her honesty, told her she’d received the job.

Photo. George Wallace, the then Governor of Alabama who refused to send the state’s National Guard to protect Selma marchers. During her job interview, Pease Elementary’s principal at the time, Ms. Hunter, asked Olyvia whether she thought George Wallace was prejudiced to which she responded, “Now, you know he’s prejudiced!” Ms. Hunter, impressed by her honesty, told her she’d received the job. Photo Credit: thinkprogress.org
Above, George Wallace. Photo Credit: thinkprogress.org

 

Photo credit: wunc.org
Photo credit: wunc.org

 

Olyvia and a high school friend. Photo Credit: Olyvia Green’s personal archive
Olyvia and a high school friend. Photo Credit: Olyvia Green’s personal archive

 

IMG_20150106_0101
Olyvia as a young woman in Arkansas. Photo Credit: Olyvia Green’s personal archive

 

Student note to Olyvia Photo Credit: Olyvia Green’s personal archive
Student note to Olyvia. Photo Credit: Olyvia Green’s personal archive

Storyhouse is a Texas-based business that preserves family stories, recipes, photos, and documents through multimedia projects. The Olyvia Green project was made possible through a partnership with the Austin Independent School District.

Maggie Mora is Storyhouse’s Marketing Manager and a Jill of all trades. When not working as an ESL teacher or with Storyhouse, she spends an unhealthy amount of time listening to This American Life and reading—absorbing other people’s stories is her favorite pastime.

 

Maggie Mora

Maggie Mora is Storyhouse’s Marketing Manager and a Jill of all trades. When not working as an ESL teacher or with Storyhouse, she spends an unhealthy amount of time listening to This American Life and reading—absorbing other people's stories is her favorite pastime.

104 Comments

  1. E'lin

    American History- A salute to a giant of an acorn who stands about 4’10”, a mighty oak

    This absolutely amazing woman was my daughter’s 3rd grade teacher in the early nineties. I’m floored to learn that she began her teaching career in 1969 because she is still so vital and active in the Austin community and the lives of her former students. To put this into perspective, this lady was the best friend of my daughter’ Great-Aunt(i.e sister to Ashton’s Great-Grandmother) who passed away approaching a decade ago, it is so heartening for me and I hope many others to see Ms.Green in action today with absolutely no sign of slowing down. The lady runs circles around me and I’m guessing several of her former students. I can not remember a visit to any gathering of the saint’s of Mt. Sinai that she is not there and in full-force, be that a home-going celebration, a live theater or musical performance of any of the several multi-talented members or a community gathering of various fellowships around the Austin community.

    I salute you dear lady, both my and my daughter’s lives will long be richer for having had ours intersect yours!

  2. Lu Watson

    I met Olyvia (Brown) Green in 1st grade. She and I were BFF(s) until I moved away. Little could I have imagined that I was in the presence of a future Icon—Civil Rights as well as a “beloved” educator. Instead of saying “YOU GO, GIRL,” I am saying—“YOU WENT, GIRL.”

  3. Meme Styles

    A story rich in strength …love for all and truth. I am honored to know this Queen today who has made such a visible impact on the city of Austin. She is the heatbeat of so many that have grown up in Austin schools. The best part is that everyone can tell that her love for teaching was and will always be her imprint. Some teachers are always recalled …referenced and remembered… She is one of these.

  4. Chris Gilliam

    I live in Magnolia, Arkansas and have known Olyvia Green and the Brown family for many, many years. For years, I simply knew Olyvia as a well-respected teacher in Austin, Texas, and following that as an admired retired teacher in Austin, Texas. But I’m honored to know that she was a pioneer who paved the way for many African-Americans. Her story reaches around the country, including right here in Magnolia, Arkansas. Young people here are honored to know that a Civil Rights hero got her start in the same church and community in which they are living.
    Olyvia, I’m proud to know you and have the utmost respect for what you were able to accomplish.
    Though it wasn’t easy, you had God on your side during those difficult years and God is still on your side today.
    With Him, all things are possible.
    I salute and admire you.
    More importantly, I love you.
    Thanks for making a difference.

  5. Lorene Flanigan

    Olyvia,My classmate and friend I, am so proud of all your strength and compliments to have achieved your goal in life…God Bless.

  6. mary powell

    GOD GAVE YOU A GIFT. LISTENING TO YOUR FORMER STUDENTS YOU WERE THE BEST. MY GRANDSON INCLUDED. YOUR TEACHING ABILITY CONTINUES TO SHINE . BE BLESSED.

  7. Mrs. Green was my third grade teacher at Pease Elementary. Even though we were nine and ten years old at the time, we understood Mrs. Green’s strength and unique. We were part of the first of the African-American kids to attend Pease and we needed someone who looked at us as scholars who needed love, and that’s what Mrs. Green gave us. We’re all over 40-years-old now, and we still respect Mrs. Green for being a rock for us..

  8. Mrs. Green was my third grade teacher at Pease Elementary. Even though we were nine and ten years old at the time, we understood Mrs. Green’s strength and uniqueness. We were part of the first of the African-American kids to attend Pease and we needed someone who looked at us as scholars who needed love, and that’s what Mrs. Green gave us. We’re all over 40-years-old now, and we still respect Mrs. Green for being our rock.

  9. Anya

    Mrs. Green was my third grade teacher at Pease Elementary. Although I am grew with two children of my own; one who is graduating from Pease this school year, I still remember the weekly Friday math memorization tests. Due to Mrs. Green’s encourage, structure, and dedication to teaching, I was able to get an excellent math foundation at an early age. So much so, that I loved math and went on to major in accounting and have worked as an accountant since graduating from college. Additionally, Mrs. Green is still affiliated with Pease and my son has been made aware of the legacy she leaves behind. He and his classmates have a great deal of respect for her. Thankfully, I still get to see Mrs. Green regularly because we are members of the same church. I love and thank Mrs. Green for who she is and all that she’s done to help me become the women I am today!

  10. It is such an honor and privilege to know Olyvia Green. She has a fun loving spirit while holding her own, a gentle giant. She is someone with love, tenacity, courage and compassion, a true example of the resiliency, courage and drive of not only those called to teach but also the African American community. Watching the story of her legacy makes me proud. Listening to the esteem her peers have for her and most importantly the adoration of her students-her teaching, love and the faith and hope instilled in them is the personification of the adage, ‘Teachers Touch the Future!’ Congratulations, Olyvia Green and nay your gift be contagious!

  11. Jacqueline Fletcher

    It is truly an honor to know Ms. Green. I attended church with Ms.. Green’s brother and his wife who were good friends of mine. I always heard of Ms. Green but never meet her. In 2014 my husband passed and I received a call from this lady who just stepped in and guided me in all the right directions. She has been so inspirational in my life; I thank God for her and love her tremendously!!!

  12. Would love to add that this wonderful lady was my neighbor growing up in Austin, Texas. She often drive me to my college campus, I am a graduate of college now.

  13. Antoinette Riley

    Revelation 12:11 translated in the King James Version states ”and they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” The word unwavering comes to mind when I reflect on my study of Ms. Green. As a former student at Pease Elementary, I can testify that she had and has a command presence, much like one that can be observed when watching a police officer or public official worthy of respect. Students who navigated desegregated schools in the Generation X or Generation Y (Why) era will never identify with the covert forms of racism unleashed on students, parents, and teachers in the 60’s and 70’s when schools were first integrated. That is why it is crucial that history records that Ms. Green moved with confidence through the hallways and school grounds as if signaling to her black students that being present in the turbulent times of transition from segregation and desegregation was as natural as gliding through the streets with roller skates. She taught me that although you could not always control where or how you would end up, you could choose to enjoy the experience of being propelled by a force greater than you. Further, you could choose to help others who struggled with the feeling of powerlessness while you were still standing. During my career, I worked for the Attorney General, Governor’s Bush and Perry and served as the Executive Director of a Texas State Agency. I walked the halls of the Capital with the same confidence I observed from Ms. Green because she made me believe I should.

  14. Nicole Cummings

    While Ms. Green was never actually my teacher when I was a Pease she was all of our teacher, and all of us were her children. She would push us beyond where we imagined we could go and is a part of the reason why I am in education today. Thank you Ms. Green for ALL that you did and do for us. We love and honor you.

  15. Chester Grant

    Olyvia, Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. -James Barrie

  16. Lestelle Merida

    Ms, Green is my church member. She is a beautiful person inside and out. Her smile lights up any room.

  17. Lauren Williams

    There is a website out there known as “Because of them, we can.” Because of Olyvia Green, I (along with generations of former students) could, can, did, and do.

    When I was a student in her third grade class, she nurtured my love of reading. She made everyone in her class feel welcome. It’s because of her (along with Doris Chaney) that I went into education myself. Thank you, Mrs. Green, for all of what you taught thousands of children and for being a role model.

  18. Ricky Patridge

    What history! I had the honor of attending church with Mrs. Green as well as being schoolmates with her sons. To Mrs. Green to God be the glory for work He has done through your gift of a school teacher.

  19. Annie B. King

    My husband and I were very pleased to read this history about our friend Olyvia. We are proud of your accomplishments and are reminded of our school years and our early years as young military families resulting from Eddie and Samuel partnering to enlist. It was your efforts and those like yours that have moved this Country beyond ever expected in our life times. Blessings to you.

  20. Ardelia Session

    I first met Ms. Olyvia Green when my daughter was in third grade at Pease. This has been over 27 years ago. She is now my good friend. I remember at Pease that Ms. Green had a beautiful and warm smile. She commanded respect from all who knew her. Her love for teaching and for her students drove her to give her all. She required the very best from all her students and was always open to the parents to discuss any issue or concern we had concerning our children. She always had time. I watched her as she taught her students, listened to them and disciplined them in love. She always wanted them to do their best. That’s why she is one of the best teachers ever. Thank you Olyvia Green for giving your all to teaching and to your students and allowing God to use you in this manner. I count it a privilege to know you.

  21. Terry Louie

    Ms. Green is the picture of survival. I am so blessed to know her. She keeps me motivated! Her story is one of many but she has had the chance to share it with the world. Blessed!

  22. Ashely "Flashe" Gordon

    Mrs. Green is a legacy and history in motion. Living simultaneously in a country where Blackness is rarely celebrated, and in Austin where Blacks are being displaced by gentrification, Mrs. Green is one of the last examples of our rich culture, true humanity, and community service. As a Black woman, educator, and community activist, I’ve had the privilege pf being introduced to Mrs. Green and subsequently gleaning from her wealth of knowledge and wisdom. She is a gem. When most would spend their hard-earned retirement resting at home, Mrs. Green is as actively engaged in her community as she has always been. We have the honor of being mentored by her and watching her mentor our younger generation as well. One can only hope to spend the life she has creating the legacy Mrs. Green has offered to us.

  23. Christina

    The thing that stands out most in my mind about Mrs. Green was this song she came up with to teach the class about division…”Divide, Multiply, Subtract, Bring the number down. Mrs. Green, you’re truly a blessing and have touched so many lives.

  24. Jenny

    I had Mrs. Green as a third grade teacher many years ago and I remember her as being tough but fair. She didn’t take any nonsense 😉 I still remember her today and have loved learning more about her amazing story and history. She’s a great lady.

  25. Valerie Hall

    I have known Mrs. Green a very long time. Our families have been friends for many years. Went I met her I was about 9 years old and I always looked up to her as an educator. She is the person that inspired me to become a teacher. I did not know the struggles she had teaching then because she always had a smile on her face each and everyday. I would go with her to Pease Elementary before school started to help her get the room ready for the first day. I
    have retired from teaching after 34 years and I know Mrs. Green was a big part of my success in my teaching career.

  26. Valerie Hall

    I have known Mrs. Green a very long time. Our families have been friends for many years. When I met her I was about 9 years old and I always looked up to her as an educator. She is the person that inspired me to become a teacher. I did not know the struggles she had teaching then because she always had a smile on her face each and everyday. I would go with her to Pease Elementary before school started to help her get the room ready for the first day. I
    have retired from teaching after 34 years and I know Mrs. Green was a big part of my success in my teaching career.

  27. Pia Gilbert

    Ms. Olivia Green was my third grade teacher at Pease Elementary School. My mother already knew Ms. Green because she and my aunt were friends. You already know if your parents knows somebody at your school you won’t be getting away with much. While at Pease there is one funny thing I remember about her. The children in the class always had a habit of leaning back in the chairs and eventually someone would always fall backwards. Ms Green told us if she catches us leaning back that she would come and sit on us. We thought that was funny and that she wouldn’t do it. She actually did it to me! Ms Green told my mom and needless to say I never did it again. I realize how special Olivia Green is to all children because she was strict but caring at the same time. I am glad I was exposed to someone who always had my best intrest at heart.

  28. Debra Gilbert

    This is an amazing article about Olivia Green. She was my daughter’s third grade teacher at Pease Elementary School. I had no idea of her legacy at the school until I read this article. She was a great teacher and role model. While at Pease Mrs. Green would always get the “difficult children” along with children that would do what was required of them no matter what. Her room was always full. I am so glad my daughter was exposed to someone that has left a legacy of endurance and patience. I am glad she was there for my daughter and all the children that have benefited from her knowledge, wisdom, and caring. A very deserving and blessed teacher who broke barriers and is still helping young people that need her! Thanks Mrs. Green!!

  29. A. W. Mays

    Mrs. Green is one of the many unsung heroes of our land. She accepted a great challenges in her life. I am touched that a young widow with two small sons left Arkansas and moved to Austin. That was courageous in itself. But then to take on the job of integrating the faculty of a local elementary school in the 60’s was also bold. Mrs. Green is small in stature, but large in spirit and heart. We are blessed to have a living legend among us. God bless Mrs. Olyvia Green. She made a path for others to follow.

  30. Yvonne Massey Davis

    Many years ago, I met Mrs. Green when I visited the church where she was a member and served as an usher. Her contagious smile and warm spirit was very welcoming and engaging. My spirit connected with hers from the moment we met. I knew that she was a real rare jewel that was covered in faith and God’s grace. Shortly after our meeting, my family and I became members of that same church. Over twenty years have now passed and I’m still seeing and being embraced by the wonderful, loving & classy Mrs. Green. Instead of being just an usher to me, I now know her as someone who means so much more. She is a dear! Mrs. Green has become one of my very special “church moms.” I sincerely admire her wisdom, strength, courage and intelligence. I really love her strength, tenacity & genuine caring spirit. Mrs. Green, you’re a Black Girl Who Rocks!

  31. Mike Abbott

    I am truly blessed and proud to have such an Angel for my Sister. When hearing about all that you have accomplished in the field of education, I’m reminded that I am also blessed to have been in both your Mother’s and your Father’s classroom. As we continue to share God’s gift, which is you, with the world, I wish you all the best and much Love.

  32. Leo Morris

    A lovely Lady inside and Out. Yes you have made someone Happy along life’s journey and you are still doing it even today.

  33. Latisha Anderson

    What can I say about Ms. Green that hasn’t already been said? I had the opportunity to meet her when I had her come and tell her story at our Black History Program. I believe it is important for kids to know not only where they are going but where they come from. Those individuals that have shaped history for us and are living to tell their story. To this day parents are still talking about Ms. Greens visit. Ms. Green I just want to Thank you for having so much courage and faith to make history. It was a real honor to have met you.

  34. Sonja Wright

    I am totally honored to know you Olyvia. I had no idea the magnitude of your legacy here in Austin. The young minds you have touched with knowledge, teaching them to appreciate who they are, and your everlasting love and kindness. You have made a unforgettable footprint in history and the hearts of many. Much love, Ms. Livie

  35. virgin pennick

    Emerald James.. I would like to say thank you mrs. Green from opening many doors, many opportunity for young black females like me.. You have been a motivator, mentor, and a great inspiration to I and my family.. Glad that you and I are friends.. You keep doing what God put you here to do.. I just saying Thank You

  36. Phyllis Jones

    Olyvia Green, is a trailblazer, she has retired from teaching yet she still mentors and supports the community. Olyvia Green is example of Greatness, Excellence, a mother to everyone she’s knows.

  37. Rodney

    “When a student is ready a teacher (Olyvia Green) will appear.” Mrs. Green is walking history and provides plethora knowledge, understanding, guidance, and directions. She has pave the way for men like myself to live out dreams, visions, and actions that will better serve our community. I am gracious, humble, and elated to share time and space with you. I pray you continue being the face of truth and strength for community.

  38. Erma Burnett

    Over fifty years ago, Olyvia and I were roommates on the UAPB campus in Pine Bluff, AR. As roommates, we shared many wonderful experiences together. We became the best of friends. Her family was like my family. Her mother, Mrs. Catherine Brown, was my inspiration and a mentor. I am grateful to have such a friend as Olyvia. She has shown what God empowered her to do and be the person she is. Thank you for sharing your God given skills to family, friends and community. I am extremely proud of you and all your accomplishments. You deserve every blessing you receive. God is not finished with you. May God grant you with wisdom, knowledge, good health and strength to complete this life journey as a faithful servant where ever you are and where ever you go in peace. I love you, friend. Be blest forever!

  39. Kerry Overton

    My family and I have known Ms. Green almost 50 years. We moved to Austin when I was about 4 years old. I, like so many others, can call her…family. I consider her sons to be my brothers. Ms. Green has lived the life of an Educator. Her teaching spirit is an essential part of what makes her the loving, kind-hearted and sincere person we have all come to admire.

    Ms. Green has always been a strong woman with a great personality. She deeply cares about all of her students as well as all of the kids in the community in which she lives. She inspires the shy to become confident; the weak to become strong; and the misbehaved to become disciplined. Ms. Green has motivated me in my academic work, my profession and my life. Her sincerity and commitment is still illustrated today. I can honestly say Ms. Green is a pioneer who has made a difference by investing in others. She has opened minds to possibilities…she is a life-long teacher.

  40. Gloria

    What a great honor it is to know Olyvia Green. It is a privilege to have her as my friend as well as my mission sister. What an amazing woman.

  41. Rick Hill

    It is a great honor and privilege to know Sister Olivia Green. She is Godly Christian woman. I’m so thankful she is also my friend. May God continue to bless and keep you Olivia Green.

  42. Carolyn

    Not only has Ms. Green been a pioneer and inspiration during her time as a teacher, she continues this journey even today. I was surprised to discover she had been checking up on my mother often and making sure my mom was ok. Whenever she is unable to reach my mother she calls me to let me know. I will then contact my mother and if I can’t reach her by phone I will drive over to her house to make sure she’s ok. She seems to have this connection with our family that she seems to know when something is wrong. Often times when she’s trying to contact my mother she is in fact in the hospital.
    We attend the same church and my kids are blessed to have her as a positive role model to look up to.
    I want to personally thank her for continuing her journey even today to give love, hugs and teachings to a generation so desperately in need. And to thank her for helping me to look after my mother.
    I liken her to someone who has been kissed by God to serve in a special capacity. I think God is very proud of her answering his call.
    May God continue to bless and keep you MY DARLIN!

  43. Sugar Ray Destin, Jr.

    Mrs. Green’s sorry is truly remarkable! Her passion for teaching, educating and empowering the next generation is evident. I am inspired by her story and reminded that we are all capable of making a difference! The adversity she overcame to become a true pioneer is a true testimony of fortitude! I love the impact she had had on the community, her testimony and her passion! What an incredible woman! Thank you for paving the way Mrs. Green!

  44. Robert Hill

    I’ve known Mrs. Green for over fifty years , and from the first time I met her while n college I knew she was someone special and would have a great impact on so many lives the way she did mine. I’m proud to say that she is my friend and always will be. U have left a ray of sunshine on the faces of everyone u met especially mine, Don’t stop now. always your friend,

  45. Shon Lanier Johnson Sr.

    Mrs. Green was my 3rd grade teacher at Pease Elementary class of ’84-’85. Back then I use to think Mrs. Green was mean because of her assertive personality and her demand for discipline. Not to mention drive for me to learn. Its wasn’t till later in life when I realized that it wasn’t that she was mean, but that she had a passion for teaching and it was a must that we all learned each lesson she taught. Whether it was math, reading, writing, or mannerism. You was in her class to learn and that’s what you will do. Mrs. Green is an amazing woman and I will never forget her. Thank you Mrs. Green and I hope you continue to influence lives in the positive way that you have for many more years to come.

  46. Burnsteen Smith

    Mrs. Green was born when there was a cry for African American women to become teachers. These educated scholars would teach what is now called the CORE Curriculum, (Math, Science, English, Social Studies), to African American students. She took to her classroom knowledge, personality, leadership, goals, expectations, and a sense of humor. She was a role model who expected her students to excel in all areas of the CORE subject areas, as well as social skills and daily living skills. All of her former students have gone on to become educated, self-supporting citizens in our society. Mrs. Green, I salute you and consider you to be an “Extraordinary Woman.”

  47. Pearlie

    Mrs Green taught my daughter in third grade. She made and impression on me with her style of teaching. Encouraging her students
    and parents to reach beyond their expectations, reading above a 3rd grade. Unfamiliar words became spelling words and vocabulary to use in writing. Whatever it took to open the windows of her students mind’s was just another way to show her love and dedication. No child in Mrs Green’s class would not excel, her hugs, smiles☺ and geniune love. Our daughter is 31 and her 6 year old just had an opportunity to meet beautiful and energetic Mrs. Green. Thank you for loving our children and God Bless you

  48. Annie Dunn

    Congratulations Olyvia! It gives me great joy to be able to write and say how very pleased I am of your achievements. May God continue to bless you. Love Annie!

  49. Annie McKnight

    I feel so honored to know,be friends with Mrs Green and her family. I went to college with her and her brother, Junior Brown and was a close friend and church member of her mother,Mrs Kathryn Brown. A much deserved honor for her!

  50. Kimberly Brown

    It warms my heart to read all of the wonderful comments about Ms. Olyvia Green. I am, however, fortunate to be able to call her “Aunt Olyvia.” Growing up in Austin, Texas I was able to see her frequently and hear the stories of many of the things she went through first hand. I recall her talking about her being a teacher at Pease Elementary and about some of the students. Aunt Olyvia would even talk about school during the holidays when we would go visit my grandparents in Magnolia, Arkansas. I didn’t want to hear about school because we were on break. I really didn’t appreciate what she was really talking about. It wasn’t until later that I realized what an impact she had in Austin and on all of us……family, friends, co-workers, bosses, students, and all those that followed.
    Education played, and still plays an important part in our family. I am extremely proud that she was able to share her teachings with many of you. I am happy that many of you were able to share experiences growing up with her throughout childhood, college and adult years.
    I am truly blessed and grateful that I am still able to speak to Aunt Olyvia frequently and hear her infectious laugh.
    I am elated that Aunt Olyvia is being recognized for her outstanding service and exceptional achievements!
    I love you Aunt Olyvia and I am so proud of you!!!!! You are truly amazing! Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your story!!

  51. Dianne Thompson

    What a wonderful tribute to an amazing woman, scholar, mentor and teacher. Although I was across the street at Austin High, both of my younger brothers were at Pease and my youngest brother her student. She is representative of the strength and fortitude the African American teachers brought to the classroom. She represents a breed of teacher that is absent on campuses today. Her objective and perseverance to educate in spite of the odds is a testimony and broke ground for African American teachers in Austin. Mrs. Green thank you for giving of yourself, your time and your talent to impart into those around you, even now.

  52. Barbara D Johnson

    Mrs Green was my son John’s third grade teacher 42 years ago, he was one of the few blacks that attended Pease Elementary School. It was a pleasure to see him come to the car each and everyday with a smile on his face. He loved getting up every morning to go to scshool and the reason was Mrs Green, he loved her hugs. She made it easy and enjoyable as a minority in that environment. Mrs Green encouraged him in math and reading. In our household he was the mathematician and dictiony because when there was math or spelling question the answer was “ask John”. When he moved from grade to grade Mrs Green continued to enrich, encourage him. He looked forward to seeing her each day, he would look for her to get his hugs. Thanks, Mrs Green for the foundation of math ad reading you gave my son among other things you gave unknowingly. You are a bright light that has continued to shine! Your smile is infectious and your personality has never changed since I first met you 42 years ago, over the years you have gone from Mrs Green my son’s teacher to my friend Olyvia. It is GREAT KNOWING YOU! Love you!

  53. Amanda Kruger

    Miss. Green was an amazing teacher and taught me so much in 3rd grade and beyond. She is a wonderful light in the universe that has impacted so many lives. I’m so grateful to have had the pleasure to know her!!!

  54. Rebecca Kruger

    Mrs. Green taught both my sister and I at Pease Elementary, and is a legend in our family for both the style and substance of her teaching. Her classroom was run with precision and compassion and was one of the first places we learned important lessons about history, race, and society. My sister and I are both finishing our doctoral degrees now, and want to deeply thank Mrs. Green for all that she taught us inside the classroom and how to think about the world outside it. We, and all her students, were very lucky to have her as our teacher!

  55. Simone Burruss

    What a privilege to be a part of a living legacy! Thank you Ms. Green for standing on the forefront and paving a way for African American women. You are truly an inspiration and I couldn’t be any prouder❤️

  56. Christopher Brown

    Olivia Green is my Aunt. I have known all my life that she has a fire burning inside that cannot be measured by glancing at her calm demeanor. She is now and has always been strict. She will never give up on you, or anyone else, ever. The world needs people like Olivia Green. Patient yet steadfast. Flexible, but always has at least one plan. Strong, yet compassionate towards others. This is the level of leadership that is needed when teaching the next generation. Everyone around her has benefited from her selflessness and sacrifice. It’s no surprise that she has accomplished such remarkable goals. She’s as tough as they come, and as classy as God makes them. She reminds me of her mother every time I see her smile and hear her laugh. I love my Aunt Olivia, with a full heart. She truly is one of a kind.

  57. Debra Dibble Boone

    This is a beautiful story portraying an awesome woman. I am very honored to know Mrs. Green. This story provided much more insight on who she is and was in many lives. She has a powerful presence in the church and community. I definitely related to having a caring and loving teacher as Mrs. Green during my primary years in public school, especially during integration in the early 1960 in Texas. It positively impacted my life. Mrs. Green’s character and love has shaped the lives of many. She continues to give these gifts to others today. I pray that she is richly blessed in return.

  58. Elijah Brown

    Olyvia is my youngest sister whom I am very proud of and love dearly. It was not an easy path she has traveled. She had to endure the loss of her spouse and raise two young boys (which was not an easy thing to do) as well as teach young children. I admire her for staying the course and touching the lives of so many individuals during her teaching career and is presently doing so. Our mother frequently informed us that some people are here to help others and Olyvia has definitely done her part in this endeavor. I do believe that she will continue to do so as long as she can move about. Again, I love you sis and keep on keeping on.

  59. Reginald Williams

    It takes a special person to educate children. Everyone can’t do it. Ms. Green did it in adverse conditions and over a long period of time. Children can be difficult–Parents can be difficult–co-workers can be difficult –and yes–your boss can be difficult.She stood the test of time during very difficult times when our struggles were true during the civil rights movement!! You should be proud of yourself! RRW

  60. ROSIE HOLMES

    I’m proud to have such a gifted friend as Olyvia. I’ve always referred to her as my ‘Kindred Spirit because we both joined the Mt. Sinai B.C. at the same time. Olyvia is an inspiration to to many , she’s a person who believes in getting things done ,and in order. I’m inspired by her energy. Good friends are valuable. Thank you for being my friend.

  61. Sean Pena

    I love you Mrs. Olyvia Green.You were a light for me in this dark world.You showed me that hard
    work pays off and I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being my 3rd.grade teacher at Pease Elementary School.

  62. Michelle Meneses Young

    Olyvia Green was my 3rd grade teacher. She is an exceptional teacher, friend, role model and cheerleader for all of her students. She had high expectations for us all and we rose to meet her expectations. This lovely lady is very special to my family. She was there to teach & guide me in 3rd grade and still does the same today. She has attended my awards ceremonies at school, wedding, baby shower and many special moments in our lives. She is part of family and I love her very much. I wish all educators were as invested and tenacious as Mrs. Green. This woman is one of a kind!

  63. Phillip A. Andrews

    I was a student in Ms Green’s class in 1977. Ms. Green struck balance between being firm and some levity. As I recall Ms. Green was a strong woman who cared about her students. Ms. Green set the bar high and she did not leave anyone to settle but she pushed everyone to do their best. I too serve as a teacher here in Denver and dedication and caring are in short supply. In retrospect I do not recall Ms Green in bad spirits but she insulated us students as she quietly fought battles around her. I love and admire her even more. As I read and listen to the historical accounts, Ms Green is again teaching me. Ms Green you along with others remain an inspiration to me as I deal with children. I may not be in the civil rights movement but I am fighting still against racism. Like you, I want to make sure that I love on my black students unconditionally particularly those with behavior problems. I know I was not a model student but you cared for me anyway. Ms. Green, ma’am you inspired this student.

    Phillip Andrews
    Intervention Math
    Place Bridge Academy
    Denver, Colorado

  64. Mae C Shaw

    I am so proud of you, my darling sister. I knew you would be a successful teacher because of the love, attention and time you gave the children in Magnolia, Arkansas.

    Our parents were educators; two sisters and one brother were also in education. Olyvia wanted to be a professional dancer. She could dance then and is still dancing. Our family was happy when you decided to become a teacher. You were an enthusiastic dancer and inspired teacher.

    My Children, friends and me are so proud and blessed to have you here in the family. Hit the ball over the fence and you can take your time going around the bases. Congratulations, sis, for hitting the ball over the fence. I love you. May God bless.

  65. John King

    I walked into Pease Elementary as a third grader over 40 years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday. I was in a new school and I didn’t know anyone but when I saw Miss Green I knew it was going to be alright. She greeted me with a smile and made me feel at home. Miss Green is a wonderful person and educator, she motivated and inspired me to read and do my math. I am forever thankful to Miss Green because she let me know that I belonged there and my brain was as good as their’s. In a time when there weren’t many of us in that school we had Miss Green. Thank you for being there for me! I love you and God bless you.

  66. E-Thelwood Currie

    I was introduced to Olyvia several years ago by a mutual friend. She shared some of the adversatives of life, i.e., loss of husband, having to raise two boys alone, racism in the work place to name a few, while holding down a full time job. I was not surprise to learn that she was a teacher because she exemplified a passion for people, especially children. An almost constantly smile, sassy walk and the ability to express herself clearly placed her in a very special unique group. The Olyvia I met exhibited signs of a God fearing individual, not only attending church regularly but an active participant. With God on your side, who can be against you. Congratulations and THANKS for your contribution to society.

  67. Lakisha Powell

    Although I did not have the pleasure of being taught by Mrs. Green personally. It is obvious that she has left a lasting impression on the lives of those she taught. Even today, She continues to share her knowledge and time with others around her. To hear inspiring story, encourages others to pursue your dreams in spite of the obstacles/challenges in your path. God’s plan is bigger than we can ever imagine. Mrs. Green is a true example. Thank you for sharing your story and your life with us. God bless.

  68. Rosa Taylor

    What a pleasure it is knowing this lady. When I lived in Austin, she was one of the bright spots in my Christian Life. I met her at Church, never knowing anything about her background, I found her to be very approachable, direct and to the point, christian minded and she has a love for people. After learning that she has been one of the pioneers of our era, I can now understand how she reached such heights and why so many people love and respect her. I am so happy I had the opportunity to meet Olyvia, and can call her a friend. So proud of her accomplishments and the lives she’s touched and still touching.

  69. B. Ates

    I remember Mrs. Green as a teacher that was tough, kind, and humorous. She was/is a master at teaching multiplication. I recall wanting to study my 3rd Grade Times Tables just to impress her in class the next day. I always felt comfortable in her class; her toughness and kindness made me feel I was being taught by family.

  70. MARY WILLIAMS

    Congratulations
    In the classroom, learning is a deeply personal experience with Ms. Green. When something is learned, understood, and finally becomes transparent to the learner, she is a special kind of individual that make accomplishments that changes that person forever. Her mind becomes refreshed and more open, new neural connections are formed, and curiosity expands. The more kids learn form her, the more they want to learn.Both learning and the thirst for it are the eternal gifts Olyvia gave to each one of her students. These gifts are possessions a student never loses, and which benefit them for life. In the classroom, learning is a deeply personal experience with Ms. Green. When something is learned, understood, and finally becomes transparent to the learner, she is a special kind of individual that make accomplishments that changes that person forever. Her mind becomes refreshed and more open, new neural connections are formed, and curiosity expands. The more kids learn form her, the more they want to learn.
    Both learning and the thirst for it are the eternal gifts Olyvia gave to each one of her students. These gifts are possessions a student never loses, and which benefit them for life. That’s why we love her. She taught my daughter in the third grade.
    Axel
    June 21 ,2016

  71. Joy Raines

    Way to go “Miss Olyvia”
    I feel honored to know you. Your legacy is to be treasured. I appreciated
    the comments from former students. May God continue to bless you, as you have been a blessing to so many. Love you.

  72. J. Hunter

    “Well Done Olyvia”
    You took a leap of faith and stepped out into unknown situations and not knowing for certain what the consequences of your actions would be. Only God could take you through and bring you safely to the other side. Having traveled such a difficult path, you were able to touch the hearts and lives of many. You may never realize the full extent of what you accomplished by blazing such a trail through which many others would travel. Your legacy will live on beyond yourself and be a pillar and foundation upon which others will come to know you and what they too can accomplish.

  73. Orsby Crenshaw

    Mrs. Green was my third grade teacher and she will alway be an inspiration to me. She earned and demanded respect. There has not been and will never be in my opinion another teacher that has touched so many people in so many different ways. I was truly bless to have her in my life, not only as a teacher, but a roll model. I also had the pleasure of having her son as one of my best friends growing up. I love you dearly Mrs Green! God Bless you

  74. Ashlee Shuler

    Wow…what an amazing story! I was extremely blessed to have Mrs. Green as my third-grade teacher. Even back then she was more than a teacher, she taught me how to be a young lady and that I could be anything that I wanted to be. Since my time at Pease Elementary, Mrs. Green has been such a big part of my life in so many ways. She make me want to be the best I can be because I don’t want to disappoint her. With that as motivation, I have far exceeded any expectations that I have set for myself and I thank you. I want to congratulate Mrs Green for being such a pioneer in the Austin community and for me and my family. You are truly a great example of what it means to be a leader and educator.

  75. Krystal Evans

    Mrs. Olyvia Green is an incredible woman. I had the honor of being in her class at Pease Elementary. She was a zealous educator in who made learning fun and loved her students. As I pursued my career in education I often found myself using many of the same strategies that Mrs. Green used to teach us. I want to congratulate Mrs. Green on this wonderful accomplishment and I find it an honor to have graced your presence! We LOVE you Mrs. Green.

  76. Sean Collins

    You along with other teachers from your generation changed the lives of so many young kids like myself. Not to take anything away from teachers today but you are a different breed. I’m sure many others successful adults like myself would agree. We need many more like you in this world. Thank you Mrs. Green for helping mold me into the man I am today. God bless

  77. Cliffton Styles

    I’ve known Mrs. Olivia Green since I’ve lived here in Austin Texas. Not only is she a trailblazer an icon in the African-American community here locally, but she is a mentor and an incredible wealth of knowledge. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to your people Mrs. Green we love you !!!!

  78. Stacy K

    Congrats Ms. Green! It’s such an honor and privilege to know you. Your story is an inspiration!

  79. TrishaRodriquez

    I am so honored to have had Mrs. Green as my 3rd grade teacher! She is a true inspiration to me. She never made excuses for who she is as a person and commanded respect in such a positive and lasting way. As my teacher she was firm but loving, strong but gentle, powerful but kind and she deserves all the acclaim and recognition she is being given. To hear about the struggles she faced earlier on, I can’t help but be even more affected by her passion to succeed. She truly holds a special place in my heart. Thank you, Mrs. Green for teaching me to be proud of who I am and that a little sass never hurt anyone!

  80. sharon mckinney

    CONGRATULATIONS MRS. GREEN!

    I can genuinely say that this is a well deserved honor. Being a student that attended Pease in the late ’60’s, having siblings that attended in the 70’s and a son that benefited from the teachings of Ms. Green in the 80’s. There were many challenges she faced teaching at a school on the west side of IH 35, but with a determined mind, she faced each one, defeated whatever, and came out a winner.
    I am overjoyed that Mrs. Green is able to enjoy and reap the fruits of her labor.
    THANK YOU MRS. GREEN…!!!
    Just know that you are an inspiration to all your ex- Pease Bobcats!

  81. Lena Moore

    I am more than honored to know Ms Green. She was my sons 3rd grade teacher. One of those wonderful no nonsense teacher that truly wanted your child to reach their maximum potential. I appreciate that about her and my son is an outstanding young man due in part to her commitment not only to teaching but also ensuring that they were held accountable. My husband and I thank God for allowing us many years later to cultivate what we hope will be a life long relationship with the wonderful Ms Olivia Green.

  82. Eugene Moore

    Ms. Green,
    I would like to commend you for your teaching excellence , your commitment to Pease students are impeccable your impact on our African American community will leave a lasting legacy.Thank you for your work and I am grateful to say you’re a wonderful friend to our family. THANK YOU MS. GREEN!!!!!!

  83. Ashton Deary

    Ms. Green,
    Although you have not been my teacher since the third I still feel the effects of your work. In school people affectionately refered to you as the strict or mean teacher however, we did not realize that you were
    simply preparing us for life by not sugar coating the truth and helping us learn hard lessons early on. Thank you for being our voice in the Austin Independent School District for so many years and dedicating your life to the service of our youth. God bless you for everything you are, and keep shining Ms. Green, we love you!

  84. Jay Green

    Mrs. Green:
    PEOPLE come into your Life for… A REASON, A SEASON, or A LIFETIME!… We don’t normally refer to TEACHERS/EDUCATORS in this manner because we usually think of them in our lives for only a year and sometimes that year was a traumatic experience!

  85. Jay Green

    Mrs. Green:
    PEOPLE come into your Life for… A REASON, A SEASON, or A LIFETIME!… We don’t normally refer to TEACHERS/EDUCATORS in this manner because we usually think of them in our lives for only a year and sometimes that year was a traumatic experience!

  86. Daphne Lee Pollard

    Mrs. Green was my 323rd grade teacher at Pease in Austin Texas to this day I thank God to have met such a great Teacher, Woman, Mother , Friend, Christian. I did realize that she was the only Black teacher but I was happy because she could relate to me in more ways than one. I enjoyed being in her class. In 1980 Mrs Green sat our table as guest invited by my parents attending my Debutante Ball, I smiled I felt honored to know she remembered me I felt on top of the world I was 18 then. Many years later I went to Mt Sani Women’s Day Program and was then greeted by the best door keeper of the church, Usher O. Green . That same beautiful heart felt smile but most important Mrs Green remembered me, WoW. We talked through the whole service and I could not wait to get home to share the fellowship with my mother and children. I was an average student didn’t get in trouble but Mrs was still is respected by every student she ever taught. I love you Mrs O. Green just know you have been a blessing to lots of others sho-nuff to Daphne Lee & James Pollard Jr.

  87. Jay D. Green

    First let me apologize for my 2 previous incomplete comments, computer problems caused this terrible mistake! Mrs. Olyvia Green was “THE BEST” thing that ever happened to me in school! She was my FIRST BLACK TEACHER in my WHITE EDUCATIONAL SETTING!…
    Mrs. Green:
    PEOPLE come into your Life for… A REASON, A SEASON, or A LIFETIME!… We don’t normally refer to TEACHERS/EDUCATORS in this manner because we usually think of them as being in our lives for only a year, and sometimes that year was a traumatic experience! Which was my exact case before entering the Wonderful World of Mrs. Green! This was Not the case with Mrs. Green… She came into your Mind, Heart, Soul and Spirit! She taught me Self Control, Self Respect, Self Worth, Dignity, Critical & Creative Thinking, with a Loving, Sensitive & Gentle Heart! She has made & continues to make A Significant Difference in My Life! God has Abundantly Blessed me with Mrs. Olivia Green, My Drum Major, An Educator During the CIVIL Rights Movement… who taught me at Pease Elementary School in Austin, Texas… for A Reason, ALL Seasons and My Lifetime! Thank you, Mrs. Olyvia Green! May God continue to Abundantly Bless you as you have Blessed Me and So Many other Students! I Love You! Jay…

  88. Ilinda Williams

    Ms. Green, I cannot thank you enough for the time, attention and hugs that you shared with my children. When my oldest was assigned to your class I felt as though the educational and social ‘experience’ that I wanted for my children would be achieved. Having been a child in the late 50’s/early 60’s it was important to me for my children to take advantage of all that was fought for. It was EQUALLY important that they see strong Black role models in that same setting. You were a Godsend in that respect. You were one of the many capable Black instructors at Pease that inspired my daughter to become an educator. Wishing you continued blessings.

  89. Brenda B. Green

    It is with GREAT JOY that I share with the WORLD my comments about Mrs. Olyvia Green. The principal at Pease Elementary School in Austin, Texas made a Bold Outstanding selection for her first Black American Teacher, when she hired Mrs. Olyvia Green, during the Civil Rights Movement. We know she had to be “Over Qualified” to be selected! Being the FIRST in your race to be in a position is always a challenge. And, in Austin it was truly a challenge. Mrs. Green, however, embraced her challenges with her strong faith, warm smiles, gentle spirit and intelligence, which ultimately established “A Benchmark for Educators!” My son, Jay, was delighted when he finally got a teacher who looked like his Mama! Especially, after experiencing a traumatic first grade experience in Mrs. Perry’s class. The issue and abuse was HANDLED! But, my son’s self esteem was damaged by this experience and impacted his learning. After closely monitoring his first and second grade classes, you can imagine the joy we both felt to see Mrs. Green, a 3rd grade teacher of color! We both thanked God! After the initial meeting with Mrs. Green, I felt relieved to know her standards, teaching style, methods and student expectations as well as what was expected of me, as a parent. I knew that Jay would experience An Equal Opportunity To Learn without having his self esteem diminished but rather restored in his academic environment. Mrs. Green’s instructions were not limited to the classroom. She taught on the playground, in the lunch room, in the hallway and on the way to the restroom! (Smiles & Appreciation…) It was this kind of continuous education provided by Mrs. Green that made a quantifiable and significant difference in my son’s education and life. But, this is true for all of her students. Read the comments and you will see that this is true for All of her Students! Mrs. Green, thank you for being a smart, strong, consistent, loving, innovative, creative and a gentle giant praying teacher. You changed Jay’s life and gave him the tools necessary for learning and life. When you changed his life … You improved and changed my life! (Smiles) Thank you and may God continue to Bless You! We thank God for sending you into our lives! We Love You, Dearly! …. With Great Respect and Appreciation … Brenda Green ..

  90. Bernard K. Green

    Congratulation Mom,
    I am so proud of you. You are history in motion. May God continue to bless you.Love you Mom.

  91. TreeG Music

    Where does one begin? I first met Mrs. Green when I performed at the Black Excellence event in Austin Texas 2016. She was receiving an educational award for her many feats she has accomplished through perseverance here in Austin. What a pleasure to be in her presence with the radiant light that shines from within her. She fills a room with so much grace and spunk! Her smile is infectious and her hugs are comforting to the soul. I got a chance to further exchange space and time with Mrs. Green while participating as a Judge for the Miss Juneteenth Pageant 2016. As I am not an Austin native, to see Mrs. Green in public is to always feel home. I am blessed to have met such a beautiful, caring spirit. I thank God that the world has been impacted by this Queen and I have the honor to witness it!! To our Mentor, to our Queen – I love you Mrs. Olyvia Green!!

  92. Sheila Mckinmey

    Mrs. Green, thanks for being the awesome teacher you were at Pease, my son is 34 years old now and he remembers you to this day.

  93. Shannon Reed

    Ms Olivia Green is an amazing lady! She taught 3rd grade to my two brothers and me and she is by far the best teacher we ever had. She was very real, very funny and she made learning exciting. She is one of the reasons I became a teacher and I try to be just like her. Hopefully I can affect my students in the same positive way that she did.

  94. Ela King

    Olyvia, you made a great contribution to society during that era.
    I am so happy to be one of your classmates. A warrior is a woman who stands strong.

  95. I am very happy that I finally met the legendary Mrs. Olyvia Green in 2016. I had heard so many wonderful things about her prior to meeting her and wondered if such a larger than life person really existed. Well… She does…. In Mrs. Green. Since meeting her I have come to know even more people who sings her praises which makes me wish I had her as a teacher in my early years. Facing the reality that I in fact did not have Mrs. Green as a teach, I am enjoying watching her continue to lead us and teach us in the classroom of life. So Great to Know You Now Mrs. Green.

  96. Katura Daniel

    This was an amazing video, it literally brought me to the tears. First, let me state that I would not know discipline in school without Mrs. Green. She was the first teacher that did not allow laziness or disrespect in her classroom, and that made us LOVE her even more. She let me know talking to myself is ok… but if I started to answer myself, I have a problem. LOL it’s official I have a problem! I didn’t know what she had contributed so much to Austin and the community, I just knew she changed my life with her diverse personality. I am so proud after seeing this video and reading up on everything she has done, to say that Mrs. Green, was my third grade teacher! I am class of 2000 and to this day we all get together to support and love on Mrs. Green, we love her! I love her and I want her to know that my day is brighter due to her telling me she loved me. #bobcatforlife

  97. Katura Daniel

    CORRECTION- I didn’t know that she had contributed so much… Grammar is everything! Thank you Mes. Green.

  98. Bernard Green

    I’m so proud of my grandmother for her accomplishments during a career of service in education. It takes a certain kind of person to care for others’ kids for generations, and with the same care and consideration one might exercise with ones own. My grandmother, ‘G Mother’ will serve as a beacon of inspiration for generations to come – I’ve certainly got large shoes to fill.

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