Shoreline Community College – Celebrating Black History Month: Dorothy Hollingsworth

Photo of Dorothy Hollingsworth
Photo of Dorothy Hollingsworth

Dorothy Lee Thomas Hollingsworth was born on October 29, 1920, in Bishopville, South Carolina.  Dorothy was the oldest of three children.  Her sister died at 14 of pneumonia and her brother died from injuries sustained in World War II.  Dorothy once said she always knew she wanted to help peoplea desire that grew after learning about social work as a career at an eighth-grade job fair. After graduating from Atkins High School, a missionary from the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church encouraged Dorothy to further her education. She was accepted at Paine College in Augusta, Georgia, and was granted a scholarship from the missionaries. Dorothy continued her education and graduated from an HBCU in 1941, with degrees in social science and education, and was immediately hired as a third-grade teacher.

In 1946, Dorothy and her husband moved to Seattle, WA. The couple sought a new beginning in the hope of escaping the hardships of the South that came with repressive Jim Crow laws and racial segregation. A lifelong learner, Dorothy enrolled at the University of Washington, and in 1959 she received her master’s degree from the School of Social Work.  After graduating, she became a social worker for Seattle Public Schools.  

In the early 1960s, Dorothy became involved in the local civil rights movement, protesting restrictive covenants, fighting for equitable education, and open housing initiatives throughout the city.   In 1965, she was selected as the Director of Head Start, a program that was part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society’s national anti-poverty initiative—the first in Washington State. Dorothy then became the first African American woman to be elected to the Seattle School Board, becoming board president in 1979. Dorothy served a six-year term helping to guide the city through racial tensions that escalated with the desegregation of schools.

We Celebrate Dorothy Hollingsworth for helping the Seattle, WA community to be more inclusive and equity-minded.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: