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Indira Hale Tucker ’65

Indira Hale Tucker ’65, April 8, 2012, in Long Beach, California. Named for Indira Gandhi, Indira grew up in Hawaii. Her mother was a pioneer in her career as a public official and a member of the Hawaii House of Representatives. (To preserve her mother’s legacy, Indira later organized the Helene Hale Collection on International Women of Courage at the Hilo Public Library.) Indira attended Reed for three years. She married Marcus Tucker in 1965 and completed a BA from UCLA in political science. Marcus became a superior court judge in Los Angeles, and they raised one daughter, moving to Long Beach in 1977. While reading the official history of Long Beach in the late ’80s, Indira said she was “flabbergasted” to find the city’s African American community represented only by the statement: “11 percent African American.” Working with Doris Topsy-Elvord, a Long Beach City Council member and Indira’s longtime friend, and Aaron Day, a genealogist, Indira gathered personal accounts, newspaper stories, and family photographs from African American Long Beach residents, and produced the book The Heritage of African Americans in Long Beach: Over 100 Years in 2007. Indira and Doris also cofounded the African American Heritage Society of Long Beach. Indira took great pride in her work, which led to the creation of the African American Resource Center at the Burnett Library in Long Beach in 1998. “Indira was a visionary who sought to inspire and educate our youth through reading of their past,” said Doris. “Her legacy was to initiate and archive the history of African Americans in Long Beach to make a better place for all. For this, we will be eternally grateful.” Indira was a founding member of the Long Beach Public Library Foundation and served on many other nonprofit boards in Long Beach and Santa Monica. She served as a consultant for California State University at Long Beach in the area of parent education and community enrichment—she found it to be fascinating work. Said Marcus, “She was very passionate about books and reading and developing that love in young people.” (Indira also established the Marcus O. Tucker Black Men of Courage Collection at the Santa Monica library in honor of her husband.) Indira received the Soroptimist Woman of Distinction Award, the Celebrate Literacy Award from the California Reading Association, the NAACP’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Community Super Hero Award from the Long Beach Community Partnership.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2012

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