Slowe's big break came when, in 1922, she was hired as a Professor of English at Howard University, her alma mater, and was almost simultaneously appointed Dean of Women at the University; she was the first African-American woman to hold this position.
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She especially had trouble with the President of the University, Mordecai Johnson, who was extremely opposed towards Slowe's liberal attitude of women. Perkins, Lucy Diggs Slowe: Champion of the Self-Determination of African American Women in Higher Education, The Journal of Negro History 81, No. Anderson and Slower, "From 'Brickbats and Roses,'" 135.
During an incident in which Slowe attempted to remove a professor accused of sexual harassment by some of his female students, Slowe faced such strong resistance from President Johnson that she wrote, "... 1 / 4 (Winter-Autumn 1996): 90, (Accessed June 13, 2011). Ibid., 90, and Patricia Bell-Scott, "To Keep My Self-Respect: Dean Lucy Diggs Slowe's 1927 Memorandum on the Sexual Harassment of Black Women," National Women's Studies Association Journal 8, No.
At this time she also studied the emerging field of Student Personnel (known today as School Administrative Studies) at the Teacher's College at Columbia, and accepted another teaching position at a Washington, D. In 1917, she won the Women's Singles at the first American Tennis Assoication Championship, an organization formed to allow African-Americans to compete professionally in tennis.
It was then that she gained the administrative experience she would rely upon for the rest of her career.
But, in the fall of 1937, she would have to hand the fight over to her successors when she passed away from kidney failure.