Bertha Pitts Campbell, A Founder Of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
Bertha Pitts Campbell, a gentle force against racial discrimination and remembered for accomplishing what she set out to do, has died in Seattle at age 100.
She became a centenarian during the state's centennial last year, and on the occasion of her birthday both the mayor of Seattle and the governor of Washington honored her with proclamations.
She died Monday night in the Hilltop House retirement home. She had lived there for many years, and it was there where 100 candles glowed on her birthday cake last June.
Campbell was one of the founders of Delta Sigma Theta, a national, black, public service sorority. She helped found the organization while she was a Howard University student in 1913 and that same year took part in a women's suffrage march in Washington, D.C. When she was 92 she returned to lead 10,000 members of the sorority in a commemorative march along the capital's Pennsylvania Avenue.
Born in Kansas, she became a teacher there after graduating with distinction from Howard. In 1917, she married Earl Campbell and they became parents of a son, Earl Jr. The family lived in Colorado before moving to Seattle in 1923. Her husband and son died in the 1950s.
In Seattle, Campbell was a committed activist and organizer, according to her friends and associates.
She was a charter member of the Christian Friends for Racial Equality, worked with the Seattle Urban League and was the first black member of the board of directors of the YWCA of Seattle-King County.
She was an active member of the YWCA for 53 years. Last fall, the YWCA honored her with its Woman of Achievement Award.
``She was an outstanding person in every way,'' said Carolee Danz, the YWCA's development director. ``When the YWCA was becoming involved in helping to eliminate racism and in supporting the civil rights movement, she was actively involved.''
Dorothy Hollingsworth, a past president of the Seattle School Board and a member of the state Board of Education, was a close friend of Campbell.
``The depths of her perception and her sensitivity to the needs of all people were her driving forces to see that things happened,'' Hollingsworth said. ``She was a doer who expected results, and she got results.''
A public memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. tomorrow at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church, 1522 14th Ave. A service for family members and Delta Sigma Theta members will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow at the Bonney-Watson funeral home.
Copyright (c) 1990 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.