Dorothy Pitman Hughes, pioneering black feminist, dies at 84

Dorothy Pitman Hughes, a pioneering Black feminist, child welfare advocate and community activist, co-founder of Ms. with Gloria Steinem and appeared with her in one of the most iconic pictures of the second wave feminist movement, has passed away. She was 84 years old.

Hughes died on December 1 in Tampa, Florida, at the home of her daughter and son-in-law, said Maurice Sconiers of Sconiers Funeral Home in Columbus, Georgia. Her daughter, Delethia Ridley Malmsten, said the cause was old age.

Hughes and Steinem forged a strong speaking partnership in the early 1970s, touring the country at a time when feminism was seen as predominantly white and middle-class, a division rooted in the origins of the American women’s movement. Steinem credits Hughes for helping her become comfortable with public speaking.

In one of the most famous photographs of the time, taken in October 1971, the two raise their right arms in a Black Power salute. The photo is now in the National Portrait Gallery.

Hughes, whose work has always been rooted in community activism, organized the first shelter for abused women in New York City and co-founded the New York City Child Development Agency to expand childcare services in the city.

Malmsten told The Associated Press that her mother’s greatest contribution is helping the family through the community center she founded in Manhattan’s West Side that provides day care, job training and more: “She took families off the streets and gave them jobs.”

Laura L. Lovett, whose biography of Hughes, “With Her Fist Raised,” came out last year, told Ms. food, shelter and childcare.”

Born Dorothy Jean Ridley on October 2, 1938 in Lumpkin, Georgia, Hughes was committed to activism from an early age, according to the obituary written by her family.

When she was 10 years old, her father was nearly beaten to death and left on the doorstep. The family believes he was attacked by the Ku Klux Klan, and Hughes decides to devote himself to helping others.

She moved to New York City in the late 1950s when she was almost 20 years old and worked as a salesperson, nightclub singer, and house cleaner. In the 1960s, she became involved in the civil rights movement and other activism, working with Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and others.

In the late 1960s, she founded the West 80th St. Community Child Care Center, where she met Steinem in 1968, then a storyteller for New York Magazine. They became friends, and from 1969 to 1973, they spoke across the country at universities, community centers, and other venues on issues of gender and race. They co-founded Ms. in 1972, with the first edition featuring Wonder Woman on the cover.

“Dorothy’s style is about calling out the racism she sees in the white women’s movement,” Lovett said in Ms. proof that this obstacle can be overcome.”

By the 1980s, Hughes had become an entrepreneur. She moved to Harlem and opened an office supplies business, Harlem Office Supply, a rare stationery store at the time run by a Black woman.

But she was forced to sell the store when Staples opened nearby, part of President Bill Clinton’s Upper Manhattan Empowerment program.

She will remember some of her experiences in her 2000 book “Wake Up and Smell the Dollars! Whose inner city is this anyway!: One woman’s struggle against sexism, classism, racism, urbanization, and the Empowerment Zone. “

Hughes is portrayed in “The Glorias,” the 2020 film about Steinem, by actress Janelle Monae.

She is survived by three daughters: Malmsten, Patrice Quinn and Angela Hughes.

AP National Writer Hillel Italie contributed to this report.

Source by [author_name]


News7h: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button