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Dorothy Pitman Hughes, pioneering feminist who co-founded Ms. Magazine, dies at 84


Dorothy Pitman Hughes, a pioneering black feminist, child protection advocate and activist who co-founded Ms. Magazine with Gloria Steinem, formed a powerful speaking partnership with her and appeared with her in one of the most emblematic of the feminist movement, died. She was 84 years old.

Hughes died Dec. 1 in Tampa, Fla., at the home of her daughter and son-in-law, said Maurice Sconiers of Sconiers Funeral Home in Columbus, Georgia. The home said it did not know the cause of death.

Gloria Steinem, left, and Dorothy Pitman Hughes attend the Ms. Foundation for Women Gloria Awards in New York City in 2014.Scott Roth/AP, file

Hughes was not as well known as Steinem, but the two forged an important partnership at a time when feminism was seen as a very white, middle-class movement. Steinem credited Hughes with helping her become comfortable speaking in public.

In one of the movement’s most famous photos, taken in October 1971, the two men raised their right arms in the Black Power Salute.

Hughes, a pioneering voice in the field of child care, organized the first shelter for battered women in New York and co-founded the New York City Agency for Child Development.

She met Steinem in 1968, according to a biography on Ms. Magazine’s website, when Steinem, then a journalist, was writing an article for New York Magazine about Pitman Hughes’ daycare. From 1969 to 1973, they spoke across the country on college campuses, community centers and other venues on issues of gender and race.

Hughes was born Dorothy Jean Ridley on October 2, 1938, in Lumpkin, Georgia, her family wrote in an obituary published by the funeral home.

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