Pioneering black feminist Dorothy Pittman Hughes dies at 84: NPR
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NEW YORK—Black feminist trailblazer, child welfare advocate, and lifelong community activist Dorothy Pittman Hughes toured the country in the 1970s to speak with Gloria Steinem, her second Appeared with her in one of the wave’s feminist movement’s most iconic photos…died. She was 84 years old.
Hughes died December 1 at his daughter and son-in-law’s home in Tampa, Florida, said Maurice Sconiers of Sconiers Funeral Home in Columbus, Georgia. His daughter, Delesia Ridley Malmsten, said the cause was age.
The two got to feminism from different sources — Hughes from community activism, Steinem from journalism — and the two formed a strong speaking partnership in the early 1970s, where feminism was seen primarily as white and middle-class. I toured the country for a period of time. It goes back to the origins of the American women’s movement. Steinem credits Hughes with helping her feel comfortable speaking in public.
In one of the most famous images of the era, taken in October 1971, the two raised their right arms in a Black Power salute. The photo is now in the National Portrait Gallery.
Rooted in community activism, her work organized New York City’s first shelter for battered women and co-founded the New York City Department of Child Development to expand childcare services in the city. But she was perhaps best known for helping countless families through community centers she founded on Manhattan’s West Side, providing day care, vocational training, advocacy training, and more.
“She took the family off the streets and gave them jobs,” daughter Malmsten told The Associated Press on Sunday, reflecting on what she felt was a mother’s most important job.
Steinem also paid tribute to Hughes’ community activism. “We met in the ’70s when I wrote about child care centers and we became conversation partners and lifelong friends. She will miss her, but if we keep talking about her, will continue to inspire us all.”
Laura L. Lovett, who wrote a biography of Hughes, “Raise your fist” Last year, in Ms magazine (where Pittman was a co-founder with Steinem), Hughes “defined herself as a feminist, but her experiences and more basic needs for safety, food, and shelter led to feminism.” and parenting. ”
Born Dorothy Jean Ridley on October 2, 1938 in Lumpkin, Georgia, Hughes was dedicated to her activism from an early age, according to an obituary written by her family. When she was ten years old, her father was nearly beaten to death and left on the doorstep of her home. Her family believes he was attacked by the Ku Klux Klan, and Hughes decides to dedicate herself to helping others through her activities.
When she was nearly 20 years old in the late 1950s, she moved to New York City and worked as a salesperson, nightclub singer, and house cleaner. By the 1960s, she became involved in the civil rights movement and other causes, working with Martin Luther King Her Jr., Malcolm X, and others.
In the late 1960s, she founded a community center on West 80th Street to care for children and support their parents.
“She found that the challenges of parenting were deeply intertwined with issues of racism, poverty, drug use, substandard housing, welfare hotels, job training, and even the Vietnam War.” Recognizing that the most powerful anchors of her actions are focused on children, she worked to repair the roots of inequality in her community.”
It was at this center that she met Steinem, a journalist writing articles for New York Magazine. They became friends, and from 1969 to 1973 she spoke on issues of gender and race on college campuses, community centers, and other venues across the country.
“Dorothy’s style was to point out the racism she saw in the white women’s movement,” Lovett said. She proves she can overcome this obstacle. ”
By the 1980s, Hughes was becoming an entrepreneur. She moved to Harlem and opened Harlem Office Supply, an office supply business run by black women, a rare stationery store at the time. But she was forced to sell her store when Staples opened nearby as part of President Bill Clinton’s Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone program.
She is the author of her 2000 book, Wake Up and Smell the Dollars! I will recall some of my experiences with ‘The Women’s Struggle’.
Hughes was portrayed by actor Janelle Monáe in the 2020 film about Steinem, The Glorias.
She has three daughters, Malmsten, Patrice Quinn and Angela Hughes.
https://www.npr.org/2022/12/11/1142118390/the-pioneering-black-feminist-dorothy-pitman-hughes-has-died-at-aged-84 Pioneering black feminist Dorothy Pittman Hughes dies at 84: NPR