Dorothy Hollingsworth grew up in North Carolina in the 1920s and 1930s. She moved to Seattle in 1946 with her husband, who had earlier been stationed at Fort Lewis. Through her involvement with the YWCA and her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, Hollingsworth quickly became involved with open housing discussions sponsored by the Christian Friends for Racial Equality (CFRE). She worked as a social worker throughout the 1950s and 1960s, focusing in particular on education issues in Seattle’s Central District.
Hollingsworth began to take on increasingly active civic responsibilities in the 1960s: as the first director of Seattle’s Head Start program, as a consultant to Sesame Street, a participant in the Central Area Civil Rights Committee (CACRC), and Deputy Director of Planning for the Seattle Model Cities program. In 1975, Hollingsworth became the first black woman elected to Seattle’s School Board, and during her six years on the Board she helped oversee the implementation of Seattle’s busing program. In 1984, she was elected to the State Board of Education, serving until 1993. She later served on the Board of Seattle Central Community College. Dorothy Hollingsworth passed away July 26, 2022 at the age of 101.
For more information about Dorothy Hollingsworth, see the Seattle Times, Dorothy Hollingsworth, trailblazer in Seattle’s education, civil rights community, dies at 101.
Dorothy Hollingsworth described her long history of Seattle activism in a videotaped interview conducted by Trevor Griffey in March 2005.