Howard University renames 4th Street in honor of Lucy Diggs Slowe – The Hilltop

The renowned Lucy Diggs Slowe Way street sign. Photo courtesy of Kaylin Proctor

Howard University honored Lucy Diggs Slowe’s legacy by designating 4e street and block 2400 as Lucy Diggs Slowe Way.

Slowe is a university alumnus, founding member and first president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the school’s first female dean. Slowe also sang in the school choir and was the first black woman to win an athletic championship with the American Tennis Association.

As Dean of Women, she ensured that campus life was a safe and nurturing environment for all students, especially women, according to Dr. Amy Yeboah Quarkume, associate professor of African American studies and member of the Lucy Diggs Slowe Society.

“She wanted to create a space where women would be leaders and contribute to their own communities and cities,” Yeboah said. Yeboah urged the designation of the street and the honor of Slowe.

Slowe’s legacy can be felt from her involvement in her sisterhood to her fight for gender equality.

“This is a monumental moment just to show the incredible women who are a part of this organization and the impact they have on, not only the Howard community, but the entire world,” Sinclair Thomas, Senior Vice President of ‘Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Alpha Chapter, said. “We are just honored to be able to call her our Founder,” added Lauren Lowe, President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Alpha Chapter.

While working as a dean, she fought against discriminatory policies that discouraged women from pursuing studies in male-dominated fields.

“She didn’t see any limitations based on her gender,” said Dr. Dana Williams, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and a member of the street renaming committee. “She has helped break down some of those barriers, saying that gender inequality shouldn’t be happening on college campuses,” she continued.

Slowe’s dedication to service and equality has enabled those who succeed him to progress as they wish. From academic pursuits to religious and extracurricular aspirations, she didn’t believe gender should stop anyone from pursuing her goal.

“I hope the name of the street will pique some curiosity and encourage women to find their way,” said Tracy Truitt, associate dean of student affairs at the College of Arts and Sciences. “We forget what we don’t know, and we don’t necessarily think of the women who paved the way for our lives, our careers, our circumstances, through their struggles,” she continued.

It’s easy to take the opportunities and experiences we have as black women for granted, but they have been paid for by those who have seen what the future might look like if we weren’t limited.

Yeboah remembers Slowe from scripture, Matthew 5:14. Scripture says, “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.

“Lucy means light, and her name will no longer be hidden but placed atop Howard’s Hilltop high,” Yeboah said.

Copy edited by Jasper Smith

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