O'Leary, Hazel R.
- Janis F. Kearney
U.S. secretary of energy, was born Hazel Reid in Newport News, Virginia, the youngest of two daughters of Dr. Russell E. Reid, and a mother about whom little is known, except that she was also a physician. Hazel and her sister, Edna, were raised in Newport News by their father and stepmother, Hazel Palleman Reid, in a loving and supportive environment that encouraged a solid education, independence, and compassion for others. Hazel's grandmother, founder of Newport News's only black public library, kept a box of clean and neatly packed clothes on her back porch for neighbors to take as needed.
O Leary s life lessons began in the Reid household and continued with her elementary and middle school teachers at the segregated public schools in Newport News where she was a star pupil Although the Reid sisters led sheltered childhoods their parents also encouraged their independence ...
A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.