BlackPast.org Facebook BlackPast.org Twitter

Donate to BlackPast.org BlackPast Blog
  • African American History
  • African American History in the West
  • Global African History
  • Perspectives

NOTE: BlackPast.org will not disclose, use, give or sell any of the requested information to third parties.

2 + 14 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

Shop Amazon and help BlackPast.org

Blackpast.org in the Classroom

Dewitty, Thelma (1912-1977)

  Image courtesy of Seattle Urban League,
UW Special Collections
Thelma Dewitty was the first black teacher to be hired by the Seattle Public Schools.  She had been a teacher in Corpus Christi, Texas for 14 years and began her Seattle teaching career in September 1947, after intervention on her behalf by the Seattle Urban League, NAACP, the Civic Unity Committee, and Christian Friends for Racial Equality.  As a newcomer to Seattle she felt some resentment from black pioneers after her appointment as Seattle schools’ first black teacher.  Some of their daughters, she was told, had to leave the state in order to teach because jobs were not available for black teachers.

Dewitty’s first assignment was at Cooper Elementary School.  She recalled later that the white teachers were told that a black teacher was to join them and anyone feeling uncomfortable about that could transfer.  During that first year one parent asked that her child be removed from Ms. Dewitty’s class but the principal rejected the request.  Dewitty taught at Sandpoint, John Hay, and Laurelhurst Elementary Schools and retired in 1973, from Meany Junior High School.  In the civic arena, she was active in the Seattle Branch of the NAACP, serving as its president in the late 1950s.  She served on the State Board Against Discrimination and on the Board of Theatre Supervisors for Seattle and King County.

Sources:
HistoryLink.org Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History, “Dewitty, Thelma (1912-1977)” (by Mary T. Henry), http://www.historylink.org/

Contributor:

Independent Historian

Entry Categories:

Copyright 2007-2017 - BlackPast.org v3.0 NDCHost - California | blackpast@blackpast.org | Your donations help us to grow. | We welcome your suggestions. | Mission Statement

BlackPast.org is an independent non-profit corporation 501(c)(3). It has no affiliation with the University of Washington. BlackPast.org is supported in part by a grant from Humanities Washington, a state-wide non-profit organization supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the state of Washington, and contributions from individuals and foundations.