Lucy Diggs Slowe

Keywords: women’s’ studies, civil rights, feminism, mea culpas

I came across Lucy Diggs Slowe in a N.Y. Times article Overlooked No More: Lucy Diggs Slowe, Scholar Who Persisted Against Racism and Sexism. From that article:

“She influenced broad campaigns for racial equality, feminism, personal freedom and peace activism. She made it a priority to create a separate women’s campus at Howard. And she developed the fortitude to take moral stands against oppressive authority. One such authority, Howard’s first Black president, was venomous in his refusal to grant her equal stature and comparable pay because of her gender. He dealt her only misery and insult.”

From Wikipedia:

“In 1922, Slowe was appointed the first Dean of Women at Howard University. She continued in that role for 15 years until her death. In addition, Slowe created and led two professional associations to support college administrators. Slowe was also a tennis champion, winning the national title of the American Tennis Association‘s first tournament in 1917, the first African-American woman to win a major sports title.”

Slowe was an awesome person that rose above the doubters, the misogynists, and the racists to demonstrate her abilities and to create ways to help other women do the same. As always, an online search provides more discussion of her.

The N.Y. Times article is “part of Overlooked, a series of obituaries about remarkable people whose deaths, beginning in 1851, went unreported in The Times.” Recognizing the snub of a single person like this isn’t on the same level as acknowledging things like the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, or slavery, but this type of mea culpa is an important part of moving forward. It is difficult to change things without open recognition of the misdeeds of the past.

(There are many influential people in history that are not as well-known as they could be. Many such can arguably be said to have changed history because they doubted something and acted on that doubt. Slowe is someone I put in these categories.)

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