Dorothy Pitman Hughes, a prominent figure in the second-wave feminist movement of the 1960s and ’70s, has ascended at the age of 84.
Ms. Dorothy passed away in Tampa, Florida, due to “old age,” AP News reports. While word of her death barely broke over the weekend, Dorothy was reportedly pronounced dead back on Dec. 1.
She is widely known for her close association with fellow activist Gloria Steinem. The pair, who met after Gloria wrote an article about a child care center that Dorothy ran in New York City, embarked on public speaking tours to advocate for women’s rights across the country.
During the early 1970s, they were also photographed side-by-side in a powerful image that still resonates to this day.
Iconic black feminist Dorothy Pitman Hughes has died aged 84 years old. R.I.P. pic.twitter.com/ngWh0WbgoH
— @email@example.com (@TraceyDelaney) December 11, 2022
According to AP News, Dorothy organized the first shelter for battered women in NYC. Additionally, she offered assistance to local families by providing services like day care and job training, showing her commitment to community-centered activism.
Through her friendship with Gloria, Dorothy helped conceptualize Ms., a feminist publication that’s still circulating. They also founded the Women’s Action Alliance, which helped empower the voices of feminists from all across the country.
Family & Friends Pay Tribute To Dorothy Pitman Hughes’s Legacy
In the wake of Dorothy’s passing, Gloria paid homage to her friend in a statement to The Associated Press.
“My friend Dorothy Pitman Hughes ran a pioneering neighborhood childcare center on the west side of Manhattan. We met in the seventies when I wrote about that childcare center, and we became speaking partners and lifetime friends. She will be missed, but if we keep telling her story, she will keep inspiring us all.”
Delethia Ridley Malmsten, one of Dorothy’s three daughters, also reflected on her mother’s work. She proudly noted, “She took families off the street and gave them jobs.”
Regarding her advocacy, biographer Laura L. Lovett noted in The Washington Post that Dorothy “realized that child-care challenges were deeply entangled with issues of racial discrimination, poverty, drug use, substandard housing, welfare hotels, job training and even the Vietnam War.”
According to Ms., Dorothy also kept it real about the racial disparities within the feminist movement.
“Dorothy’s style was to call out the racism she saw in the white women’s movement. She frequently took to the stage to articulate the way in which white women’s privilege oppressed Black women but also offered her friendship with Gloria as proof this obstacle could be overcome.”
We send our condolences to Dorothy Pitman Hughes’s family and friends during this time. May she rest in peace.