Studies indicate that older Americans who have a greater sense of purpose often have a higher quality of life. WBFO’s Sandy White reports on a 73-year-old retiree whose life’s journey continues to enrich others.
“My name is Eva M. Doyle. I am a retired Buffalo teacher [and] historian for African and African American history for the past, I would say, a little more than 40 years.”
Recently, Eva Doyle celebrated the 40th anniversary of her popular newspaper column Eye on History, which runs in the oldest black newspaper in Western New York, the Buffalo Criterion.
“One thing about the Eye on History column is truth. I must tell truth,” Doyle recently told a gathered crowd.
It was Doyle, as a young teacher, who pushed for the Buffalo Public Schools to adopt the idea of infusing African American and African history and content in all public schools.
“We have so many people in our history who have made sacrifice for the dignity, the freedom, and equality of black folks,” Doyle said.
During her teaching career, Doyle sought to fill a gap in the teaching curriculum by creating a comprehensive black history exhibit, spanning two rooms for students and teachers at Campus West School.
“From Day One I wanted to something to highlight African American History because it really was not being done the way it should have been,” Doyle said.
Doyle believes promoting safe awareness and pride through African American history will help students succeed in school.
“We’ve got to know our history.”
An Erie County Historical Society Red Jacket award winner, Doyle moves throughout Western New York lecturing year-round.
“There was a black inventor named Lewis Howard Latimer who further developed the carbon filament that you see at the top of the bulb, so that the lights we have today, we can credit him, the fact that our lights can burn for hours and hours on end,” Doyle said.
Doyle, or Mother Doyle as she is affectionately called, has written 12 books and is currently writing her dissertation, and posts daily to social media.
“I think I have a lot of energy. I think I have more energy than probably the average person,” she said.
Eva Doyle is also a great grandmother and once ran for the office lieutenant governor. She drives a silver blue Cadillac filled with educational materials and dresses with ethnic pride. Her self-financed Eye on History billboards tower over city streets featuring African American pioneers.
She is loved by all, among them community supporter Laythanette Shine.
“She’s an awesome woman. She’s a trooper for God, a trooper for education, a trooper for minorities, a trooper for all people races, creeds and colors. She is it,” Shine said.
Late last year, Doyle who is also a radio talk show host, suffered a stroke.
“I couldn't speak. I kept saying this to myself, how could this happen? I’m a speaker, a lecturer. I am a teacher and I can’t speak.”
Doyle was treated at the Gates Vascular Institute and, miraculously, one month later, Doyle made her first appearance since her stroke. Her granddaughter and mentee Somalia anxiously looked on as Doyle gave a three-hour presentation.
“Her past illness that she just went through and then she’s still standing strong and continuing to do the work she does for the community gives me a lot of motivation to make sure that I can be the best I can be,” said Somalia Doyle.
“I believe God saved me for a reason. I really do believe that. He saved me for a reason,” Eva Doyle said.
Following doctor's orders, Doyle continues to fight for change while teaching us one more lesson.
• Sudden weakness, paralysis or numbness of the face, arm and leg on one or both sides of the body.
• Sudden loss of speech or difficulty speaking or understanding speech.
• Sudden dimness or loss of vision, particularly in only one eye.
• Sudden unexplained dizziness (especially when associated with other neurologic symptoms), unsteadiness or sudden falls.
• Sudden severe headache and/or loss of consciousness.
If any of these symptoms are present, call 911 and seek medical help immediately.