In Memoriam: Dr. E. Alma Flagg, ED.D.

NPS regretfully announces the passing of Dr. E. Alma Flagg on the evening of March 10, 2018, surrounded by family.

Dr. E. Alma Flagg
Dr. E. Alma Flagg, ED.D.

Dr. E. Alma Flagg was born in City Point, VA, to the late Hannibal Greene Williams and Caroline Moody Williams. She and her family, which included a sister and three brothers, later settled in Newark, NJ.

In 1941, Dr. E. Alma Flagg became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Beta Alpha Omega Chapter. She married J. Thomas Flagg, an Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity man in 1942 and together they have two children and 3 grandchildren.

Dr. Flagg is a graduate of Newark’s East Side High School where she became a member of the National Honor Society, served as class poet and was voted most likely to succeed. After graduating from East Side High school, she attended Essex County Junior College, continued her education at Newark State College and earned a Bachelor of Science degree. In 1943, she received a Masters of Art degree at Montclair State College and the Doctor of Education degree at Teacher’s College, Columbia University in 1955.

Dr. Flagg’s full-time teaching career began in Washington, DC where the schools were still segregated and teachers were selected through competitive written and oral examinations. Upon completion of her examinations, she placed number one on the list. During her second year of teaching in the DC school system, she applied and passed the teacher’s exam in Newark and returned home to teach.

In 1964, Dr. Flagg was appointed principal of the integrated Hawkins Street School. She became the first African-American woman to hold that distinction. Her appointment as assistant superintendent in charge of curriculum services in 1967 was also a milestone.

Dr. Flagg had an extensive career in the Newark school system; she started as a classroom teacher; later as a mathematics teacher, remedial reading teacher, vice principal, principal, assistant superintendent of schools, before retiring in 1983 after 43 years of service.

Dr. Flagg has received numerous honors including the naming of a school in Newark, The E. Alma Flagg Elementary School dedicated in 1985. As cited on the E. Alma Flagg School website, Dr. E. Alma Flagg has been a trailblazer. The City News recognized Dr. Flagg in 1996 for being amongst the “100 Most Influential People in New Jersey” and in 1998, at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, she received the “Annual Kwanzaa Recognition of Newark Elders”.

As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the first established sorority for African-American college women, Dr. Flagg held the position of president for Beta Alpha Omega Newark Chapter in 1948 and again in 1956. In addition, she has held the position of secretary, vice-president, parliamentarian, and historian. There is also an endowed Alpha Kappa Alpha Educational Advancement Fund scholarship award established along with her daughter, who is a member of the sorority.

A Street Dedication is tentatively scheduled for May 16, 2018.

If you would like to know more about Dr. E. Alma Flagg, you can listen to these interviews courtesy of The Krueger-Scott Oral History Collection through Rutgers University.