Dorothy Hollingsworth, trailblazer in Seattle’s education, civil rights community, dies at 101

Dorothy Hollingsworth, the 1st Black girl in the point out to serve on a faculty board and a leader in the Seattle education and learning and civil rights community, died Tuesday at age 101.

Hollingsworth extolled the significance of training as a pathway to a prosperous long term, and was a champion for equivalent access in the classroom. 

“She was fierce,” explained her granddaughter, Joy Hollingsworth. “She loved education. She loved youngsters. She knew the heartbeat of activism, equity, social products and services was (remaining) equipped to deliver methods to families.”  

A trailblazing figure, Hollingsworth crafted a track record as an empathetic advocate for learners and as a human being with an unbreakable ethical compass. Possessing put in decades as a teacher and social worker, Hollingsworth eventually served as Seattle’s initially director of Head Get started, the application that helps children from very low earnings households, and was elected to the Washington State Board of Instruction.  

Born on Oct. 29, 1920, in Bishopville, South Carolina, Hollingsworth spent most of her childhood in North Carolina. When her family members struggled economically, Hollingsworth, then a teenager, requested to join her mother at the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Firm.

“Her mother said, ‘No, this place will destroy your dreams, you’re likely to go to college,’ ” Pleasure recalled her grandmother indicating. 

Her church took up a assortment to mail Hollingsworth to Paine College, a traditionally Black college in Ga, in 1941. Hollingsworth would turn into the first in her family to attend faculty. 

She returned to North Carolina to turn out to be a teacher, but she discovered her city turning out to be ever more hostile. 

“She was in downtown Winston-Salem and ran into a white female who reported, ‘You won’t be absolutely nothing but scrubbing floors for white individuals,’” Pleasure said, recalling a story her grandmother had told her. 

“To hear a person say that, and you go and accomplish all this things in your existence,” Joy said. “That ceiling people put on you as a Black woman taught me about the South, the racial tensions, but also taught me about the joys of beating them and not permitting them get you down.” 

Hollingsworth moved to Seattle with her spouse a couple years later on, in component wanting to escape the discrimination and racism common in the South. 

But Hollingsworth rapidly realized that the “separatism” she had hoped to depart driving was rampant in her new dwelling, recounting her early expertise in the city in a 2005 job interview for the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor Historical past Venture. 

When she utilized for a instructing placement at the college district, the staff director instructed Hollingsworth that the district had already hired a Black teacher, and that “it’s not overwhelmingly all set to retain the services of Negros.” When she toured a residence in Washington Park, the serious estate agent told Hollingsworth he could market her the house but she would not be capable to stay in it.

She persisted. “Don’t permit one personal working experience quit you or ruin you,” she would afterwards convey to her pupils. “Keep heading.” 

Hollingsworth joined the Christian Friends for Racial Equality, battling to stop housing discrimination. She’d help organize marches down Fifth Avenue and pickets at the previous Seattle division shop Bon Marché. She turned energetic with the Madison Department of the Seattle YWCA and the First African Methodist Episcopal Church, and located friendship between fellow sisters of her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta. 

In the long run graduating from the College of Washington’s College of Social Perform in 1959, Hollingsworth took a career at the Seattle Faculty District as a social worker, supporting family members and pupils in the city’s Central District. 

In 1965, she became the first director of Seattle’s Head Begin system, the very first just one in the condition. The subsequent 12 months, she was tapped to provide on the national advisory board for the beloved PBS children’s Tv set present “Sesame Road.” 

Between 1969 to 1972, she served as a deputy director in the Design Cities Program, which brought neighborhood improvements like updated lights and renovated playgrounds to underserved communities of coloration. 

In 1975, Hollingsworth was elected to the Seattle Faculty Board, exactly where she would aid lead the effort to racially desegregate educational institutions by busing college students across the district. Afterwards, she was elected president of the university board, and in 1984, she was elected to the Condition Board of Education and learning.

“No a person could operate a place like my grandma,” Joy Hollingsworth reported. 

In retirement, Hollingsworth saved hectic. She served on the board of Seattle Central Faculty, and was an “active socialite,” Joy Hollingsworth claimed. Hollingsworth launched a bridge club for Black females and consistently hosted dinners with buddies — holdovers of the past when they were being routinely racially excluded from dining establishments, accommodations and social golf equipment. 

Afterwards in existence, as numerous of her close close friends started to pass away, Hollingsworth cherished her time with her kids and grandchildren, Joy Hollingsworth explained. 

“She was a large spouse and children person, and she liked to be the center of consideration, she loved a microphone, she loved to explain to tales,” Joy Hollingsworth said. “We’re grateful for 101 decades with her.” 

Hollingsworth is survived by her children Jacqueline (Hollingsworth) Roberts of Mercer Island Raft Hollingsworth Jr (Rhonda) of Seattle and grandchildren Pleasure Hollingsworth (Lesha), Raft Hollingsworth IIII, Natalie Prolonged and Melvin Roberts Jr.

Her relatives will host a celebration of lifestyle Thursday, Aug. 25, at Seattle’s 1st AME Church.