Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Andrew. Andrew Wonders, “What are feminist?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Andrew!
Dorothy Pitman Hughes was born in rural Georgia in 1938. When she was a Black girl growing up in the south, America was still segregated. Pitman Hughes experienced discrimination. She would listen when her mother and other women met on the front porch to talk about ways to make their families’ lives better. Pitman Hughes knew from a young age that she wanted to be an activist who helped other people.
When she was nineteen, Pitman Hughes moved to New York City. She had different jobs including as a singer and a housecleaner. Pitman Hughes also volunteered in the Civil Rights Movement. She tried to raise money for bail for people arrested in protests.
After she was married and had children, Pitman Hughes saw the trouble that working mothers had in finding care for their children. Many women left their children home alone while they worked. Pitman Hughes helped by setting up a childcare center where she lived in Harlem. It was called the West 80th Community Childcare Center.
A journalist from the New York Magazine came to the childcare center. She toured it and talked to Pitman Hughes. Her name was Gloria Steinem. The two women became good friends.
Pitman Hughes and Steinem were both feminists. They advocated for women’s rights. They believed women should be equal to men. Pitman Hughes wanted women to have access to better-paying jobs, safe homes, and healthy food.
In the 1970s, Pitman Hughes and Steinem went around the United States together. They gave speeches on college campuses and at community centers. They spoke against gender and race discrimination.
At that time, many feminists were white women from the middle class. Pitman Hughes and Steinem believed that the feminist movement should be more inclusive. They encouraged white women and black women to work together in their struggle for equality for all women.
As an advocate, Pitman Hughes worked to help others throughout her life. She started Ms. magazine to share stories about women’s issues. She created community gardens so people would have access to fresh vegetables. Pitman Hughes was always finding new ways to improve people’s lives.
Pitman Hughes was an activist for Women’s and Civil Rights. What rights are people advocating for today?
Standards: CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.3, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.4, CCRA.L.5, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.7, D2.HIS.3, D2.HIS.6