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Howard University Renames 4th Street in Honor of Lucy Diggs Slowe

Howard University honored the legacy of Lucy Diggs Slowe by designating 4th street and the 2400 block as Lucy Diggs Slowe Way.

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

Howard University honored the legacy of Lucy Diggs Slowe by designating 4th street and the 2400 block as Lucy Diggs Slowe Way. 

Slowe is an alumna of the university, a founding member and the first president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the school’s first Dean of Women. Slowe also sang in the school choir, and she was the first Black woman to win a sports championship with the American Tennis Association.

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

“She wanted to create a space that was for women to be leaders and contribute to their own communities and towns,” Yeboah said. Yeboah urged for the street designation and honoring of Slowe. 

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

“It’s a monumental moment just to show the amazing ladies that are a part of this organization and the impact they have on, not just the Howard community, but the entire world,” Sinclair Thomas, the first vice president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Alpha chapter, said. “We are just honored to be able to call her our founder,” Lauren Lowe, the president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Alpha chapter, added.

While working as Dean, she fought against discriminatory policies that worked to discourage women from pursuing degrees in fields dominated by men. 

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“She didn’t see any limitations based on her gender,” Dr. Dana Williams, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and member of the street renaming committee, said. “She helped to break down some of those barriers, to say that gender inequality should not happen on college campuses,” she continued.

Slowe’s dedication to service and equality has ensured that those who came after her would be able to advance in any way they wanted. From academic pursuits to religious and co-curricular aspirations, she did not believe gender should keep anyone from their purpose. 

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

It is easy to take for granted the opportunities and experiences we have as Black women but they have been paid for by those who saw what the future could look like if we were not limited. 

Yeboah remembers Slowe by the scripture, Matthew 5:14. The scripture reads, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”

“Lucy means light, and her name shall no longer be hidden but placed at the top of Howard’s Hilltop high,” Yeboah said.

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Copy edited by Jasper Smith

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