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Lillian Dickerson

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Information about Lillian Dickerson

Profile image of Lillian Dickerson

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Civic Activist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Pink
Favorite Food:
Junk Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
New York, New York
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
6/12/1902
Birth Location:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Civic Activist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Pink
Favorite Food:
Junk Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
New York, New York
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
6/12/1902
Birth Location:
Philadelphia
See how Lillian Dickerson is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Lillie Benning Dickerson was born in the 1100 block of Fitzwater Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on June 12, 1902. Dickerson’s grandmother was a slave from Sierra Leone who was raised by the family of Philadelphia financier Nicholas Biddle; her grandfather, an escaped slave, worked for the Thayer family in Mainline, a prosperous area on the outskirts of Philadelphia. Dickerson’s mother, Julia Capps Benning, and father, George Edward Benning, travelled to Philadelphia by stagecoach from Charleston, South Carolina, and bought the house on Fitzwater Street in 1910. Dickerson attended Pollack Elementary School and graduated from South Philadelphia High School in 1920.

As a teenager, Dickerson was a piano accompanist for her friend and neighbor, Marian Anderson. Dickerson was also friends with Paul Robeson’s sister, Marion, and songwriter Oscar Hammerstein II. Dickerson supported NAACP Attorney Raymond Pace Alexander’s successful campaign and lawsuit to integrate restaurants and shops on Philadelphia’s Chestnut Street between 1933 and 1935. During World War II, Dickerson and other black women were hired by the United States Post Office but, because of unequal pay and unfair treatment, she wrote an appeal to Eleanor Roosevelt on behalf of her colleagues.

Dickerson’s husband, Earl, the chauffer of baseball’s Connie Mack, lived with her until his death in the 1960s. In 2006, at the age of 104, Dickerson honored by her community for being the oldest gardener participating in the award-winning 2120-2124 Fitzwater Street Garden Project.

Dickerson passed away on August 12, 2010 at the age of 108.

See how Lillian Dickerson is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lillian Dickerson's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lillian Dickerson lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lillian Dickerson describes her maternal family history, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lillian Dickerson describes her maternal family history, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lillian Dickerson describes her paternal family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lillian Dickerson talks about her mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lillian Dickerson describes her father's lawsuit to attend school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lillian Dickerson talks about her family's work
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lillian Dickerson describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Lillian Dickerson remembers growing up in a strict household
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lillian Dickerson describes the townhouse in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania her family has owned since 1910
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lillian Dickerson describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lillian Dickerson talks about her family life
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lillian Dickerson describes her childhood schools
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lillian Dickerson talks about her childhood dancing and music lessons
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lillian Dickerson talks about growing up with Marian Anderson
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lillian Dickerson describes Marian Anderson's personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lillian Dickerson describes working for a real estate broker after high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Lillian Dickerson talks about knowing Paul Robeson and his sister, Marian Robeson
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lillian Dickerson remembers Paul Robeson's declining health and spirits in the 1970s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lillian Dickerson remembers organizing against gender discrimination at the post office during World War II, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lillian Dickerson remembers organizing against gender discrimination at the post office during World War II, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lillian Dickerson describes her husband's journey to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lillian Dickerson talks about her husband
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lillian Dickerson talks about segregation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Raymond Alexander
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lillian Dickerson talks about the Civil Rights Movement and various famous people from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lillian Dickerson describes her living situation
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lillian Dickerson talks about changes to her neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lillian Dickerson describes the community garden in her neighborhood that was destroyed
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lillian Dickerson describes her hopes for the African American community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lillian Dickerson reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lillian Dickerson talks about her habits for maintaining a long, healthy life
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lillian Dickerson remembers the only time she got drunk
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lillian Dickerson reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Lillian Dickerson remembers celebrating her 100th birthday
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Lillian Dickerson describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Lillian Dickerson narrates her photographs