Dec. 10, 1934 – July 26, 2014
Evelyn Carmita Akiwumi, a retired teacher and home education coordinator for the Buffalo Public Schools, died Saturday in her Williamsville home after a long illness. She was 79.
Born Evelyn Tisdale in Daytona Beach, Fla., she moved with her family to Buffalo when she was 12 years old in 1946.
She attended School 6 and graduated from Fosdick Masten Park High School in 1951.
Mrs. Akiwumi graduated from Howard University with a bachelor’s degree in home economics in 1955 and earned a master’s degree in elementary education from Buffalo State College in 1960.
After marrying Dr. Akilowu Akiwumi in Buffalo in 1962, they lived in London and other parts of England.
The couple later moved to Ghana, where she taught at Lincoln School, an American Embassy grammar school.
On one occasion, she presented the key to the City of Buffalo to President Kwame Nkrumah of the Republic of Ghana while she was on a trip for Volunteers for International Development, which cooperated with the World Health Organization.
The family returned to Buffalo in the 1970s.
Mrs. Akiwumi was a pre-k and kindergarten teacher at School 54 and worked as a home school coordinator in Buffalo Public Schools, where she presented programs about African and African American history in most of the 11 schools she visited.
She retired from teaching in 2000 but continued to encourage young women to appreciate African culture, taking a lead role in the cultural ceremonies of the Erie County Chapter of The Links and the Gamma Phi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
In 1986 she assisted in introducing the Rites of Passage Program of the AKA as a component of the Debutante Program.
In 1989, Mrs. Akiwumi co-founded the WASET Cultural Heritage Society, a Saturday morning educational program for African American children from 8 to 11.
She was a member of First Presbyterian Church at Symphony Circle, where she served as a deacon and worked in the Thrift Shop.
Mrs. Akiwumi was a member of the Gamma Phi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Erie County Chapter Links Inc., Buffalo-Lille Association, Buffalo World Connect, Buffalo and New York State Retired Teachers associations, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Volunteer Foundation, the NAACP, Amherst Senior Center and Vive La Casa.
She enjoyed sewing, cooking and crocheting, traveling to the Caribbean, reading about African American and African history, and visiting Underground Railroad Museums and the Museum of Maritime History of Slave Shipping in Liverpool, England.
She was honored as an Uncrowned Queen.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by two sons, Derek and Edward, and two granddaughters.
Services will be at 11 a.m. today in First Presbyterian Church, 1 Symphony Circle.