Dr. Aeolian Edward Lockert, Jr., one of eight Black Soldiers “hand-picked” to integrate Fort Bragg in North Carolina during the Korean War, has died. He was 88.
Dr. Lockert served in the Korean War and was a member of the Segregated United States Army Infantry from 1950 to 1952.
During his tour of duty, President Harry S. Truman signed an Executive Order to desegregate the Armed Services, and Lockert was one of the eight Black Soldiers “hand-picked” to integrate Fort Bragg.
Lockert was a native Nashvillian with humble beginnings. He was born on March 28, 1928, and was the oldest of six children born to the late Aeolian E. Lockert, Sr. and Ophelia Pitt Lockert.
His father was in the first graduating class of A & I State Normal College (Tennessee State University) and was a distinguished educator. His mother, Ophelia Pitt Lockert, was the first African-American librarian in Nashville and worked at the downtown library and later at the Hadley Park branch before retiring.
Spurred by a strong commitment to education and solid family values, Lockert excelled in school and graduated from Pearl High School in 1945. He obtained his Bachelor’s of Science and Master’s of Science degrees from Tennessee State University in 1949 and 1955 respectively and received his doctorate in Educational Administration and Supervision in 1965 from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN.
Lockert’s early teaching career began in Alcoa and Milan, Tennessee. However, he gained his foundational experience at Cameron High School as a teacher, assistant principal and later Director of Cooperative Education.
In addition, Lockert served as principal of Haynes Junior High School and was the first African American principal in the Metropolitan Public School System to receive an earned doctorate.
After receiving his doctorate, Dr. Lockert accepted a position as Dean of the School of Engineering Technologies at South Carolina State College in Orangeburg, South Carolina, where he increased enrollment from 150 to 400 students and obtained accreditation for the Engineering Technology Programs through the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
In 1988, Lockert retired and returned to Nashville to care for his mother and continued his involvement in civic and community service.
He worked as a volunteer for the Talking Library (a unit of the Nashville Public Library), was a certified Ombudsman for District 5 Mid-Cumberland Human Resource Agency and was President of the Business and Professional Bowling League.
In addition, Lockert was a long-standing member of Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church, the Gamma Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, the TSU Alumni Association, the NAACP, AARP, National Urban League, and the National Education Association.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Aeolian Edward, Sr. and Ophelia Pitt Lockert and by two brothers, Leonard and Morris C. Lockert.
He is survived by his daughter, Dr. Cheryl (Dan) Lockert-White, sisters Estelle L. (Walter) Greene (Hyattsville, MD), Maxine L. (Willie) Wright (Fayetteville, NC), brother Arvell B. Lockert and sister in-law Juanita D. Lockert of Nashville, TN, Mother of daughter and dear friend, Dr. Edna W. Lockert, as well as many nieces and nephews.