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Dorothy Runner

Civic volunteer Dorothy Runner was born on May 6, 1920, in Nitro, West Virginia; she attended segregated Dunbar Elementary School in Charleston, West Virginia. Runner was an active member of the B-Squares girls service club in a high school, where a significant number of teachers had graduate degrees from Columbia University. Runner graduated from Henry Highland Garnet High School in 1937; that same year, she entered Howard University. While at Howard, Runner joined Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and was elected Ms. Gridiron. Runner was mentored by Howard's noted theologian, civil rights activist and mystic, the Reverend Howard Thurman. Earning her B.A. degree in social work in 1941, Runner went on to pursue graduate study at the University of Chicago under the guidance of Robert Hess.

While in Chicago, Runner met and married Dr. Charles Runner; she then worked briefly at Provident Hospital before beginning to raise a family. In 1951, Runner moved to Germany where her husband was stationed as an Army physician. While raising her two daughters, Runner's parental activities led her to heightened civic involvement. Active as a member of the AKA's, the Girlfriends, and other women's organizations. Runner developed her friends and associates into a useful network for social change.

Runner served as a board member of the Art Institute of Chicago and Chicago Urban Gateways; through her participation as a member of the New Provident Foundation, she raised $100,000 for Provident Hospital's Building Fund. Runner received the Outstanding Volunteer Award from the National Society of Fundraising Executives in 1985. Runner was a founding member of the South Side Auxiliary of Planned Parenthood and helped establish the 63rd Street Outpatient Clinic; she was also a founding member the Hyde Park\Kenwood Auxiliary of the Illinois Children's Home and Aid Society. As a member of the board of advisers of the Museum of Science and Industry's annual Black Creativity Exhibit, Runner continued to be a valuable contributor to the community.

Accession Number

A2003.048

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/17/2003

Last Name

Runner

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Walker

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Dunbar Elementary School

Dunbar Primary School

First Name

Dorothy

Birth City, State, Country

Nitro

HM ID

RUN01

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

West Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

5/6/1920

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Beef, Vegetables, Fish, Chicken

Death Date

7/17/2010

Short Description

Civic volunteer Dorothy Runner (1920 - 2010 ) was an organizer for women's and health issues. Runner was a founding member of the South Side Auxiliary of Planned Parenthood and helped establish the 63rd Street Outpatient Clinic.

Employment

Provident Hospital

Favorite Color

Bright Colors

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12666">Tape: 1 Slating of Dorothy Runner Interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12667">Tape: 1 Dorothy Runner's favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12668">Tape: 1 Dorothy Runner details her family history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12669">Tape: 1 Dorothy Runner discusses her mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12670">Tape: 1 Dorothy Runner remembers a racist incident in her youth</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12671">Tape: 1 Dorothy Runner gives more information about her mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12672">Tape: 1 Dorothy Runner shares her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12673">Tape: 1 Dorothy Runner reflects upon her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12674">Tape: 2 Dorothy Runner details the strong neighborhood bonds of Charleston, West Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12675">Tape: 2 Dorothy Runner recalls a Jim Crow experience on the train</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12676">Tape: 2 Dorothy Runner remembers her elementary school days</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12677">Tape: 2 Dorothy Runner discusses the impact of neighborhood segregation on education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12678">Tape: 2 Dorothy Runner recalls her involvement in school and church activities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12679">Tape: 2 Dorothy Runner recalls a high school mentor</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12680">Tape: 2 Dorothy Runner discusses Dr. Howard Thurman's guidance in her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12681">Tape: 2 Dorothy Runner describes the racism she experienced at the University of Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12682">Tape: 2 Dorothy Runner reflects upon a childhood study she conducted at University of Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12683">Tape: 2 Dorothy Runner discusses her involvement with several organizations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12684">Tape: 3 Dorothy Runner talks about how she met her husband</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12685">Tape: 3 Dorothy Runner recalls her daughters' early educational experiences and later success</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12686">Tape: 3 Dorothy Runner discusses her involvement in various Chicago organizations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12687">Tape: 3 Dorothy Runner describes her interest and involvement in the arts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12688">Tape: 3 Dorothy Runner details her concerns for black urban youth in Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12689">Tape: 3 Dorothy Runner shares the role of religion in her life and in the community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12690">Tape: 3 Dorothy Runner discusses her relationship with the Illinois Humane Society</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12691">Tape: 3 Dorothy Runner explains parental involvement and its influence in early childhood education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12692">Tape: 3 Dorothy Runner offers her opinion on corporal punishment of children</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12693">Tape: 4 Dorothy Runner shares her methodology for avoiding child abuse</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12694">Tape: 4 Dorothy Runner shares her hopes and concerns for the black community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12695">Tape: 4 Dorothy Runner discusses the Black Creativy program</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12696">Tape: 4 Dorothy Runner reveals she isn't much of a politician</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12697">Tape: 4 Dorothy Runner contemplates her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12698">Tape: 4 Dorothy Runner considers how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12699">Tape: 4 Photo - Dorothy Runner and husband Charles Runner, wedding day, 1945</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12700">Tape: 4 Photo - Dorothy Runner and members of the Urban Gateways, ca. 2001</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12701">Tape: 4 Photo - Dorothy Runner, John Hope Franklin and others</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12702">Tape: 4 Photo - Dorothy Runner and husband Charles Runner</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12703">Tape: 4 Photo - Dorothy Runner and members of The Girlfriends, 2003</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12704">Tape: 4 Photo - Dorothy Runner and members of the Girlfriends, ca. 2000</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12705">Tape: 4 Photo - Ann Collins and unnamed officers of The Girlfriends</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12706">Tape: 4 Photo - Dorothy Runner's mother Lillian Walker, ca. 1970s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12707">Tape: 4 Photo - Ricardo Millett's daughter Maya and unidentified woman</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12708">Tape: 4 Photo - Anne Steptoe and Hanna Gillespie</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12709">Tape: 4 Photo - Dorothy Runner and unidentified group of women</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12710">Tape: 4 Photo - Dorothy Runner's husband Charles Runner</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12711">Tape: 4 Photo - Dorothy Runner and Margaritte Hodge, Germany, ca. 1953-1954</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12712">Tape: 4 Photo - Portrait of Dorothy Runner</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12713">Tape: 4 Photo - Dorothy Runner and her daughter boarding an airplane, ca. 1950s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12714">Tape: 4 Photo - Dorothy Runner and members of the regional office of Soc. Serv. Mental Hygene, Chicago, Illinois 1951</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12715">Tape: 4 Photo - Dorothy Runner and unidentified girl</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12716">Tape: 4 Photo - Dorothy Runner's friend Veonas Bera</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12717">Tape: 4 Photo - Dorothy Runner's parents Hobert and Lillian Walker</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12718">Tape: 4 Photo - Alvin Ailey dancer Denise Jefferson</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12719">Tape: 4 Photo - Dorothy Runner's daughter, Dr. Susan Runner</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12720">Tape: 4 Photo - Dorothy Runner's grandson Benjamin</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12721">Tape: 4 Photo - Dorothy Runner</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/12722">Tape: 4 Photo - Collage of Dorothy Runner and other Northeasterners</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

2$3

DATitle
Dorothy Runner recalls a Jim Crow experience on the train
Dorothy Runner discusses her involvement in various Chicago organizations
Transcript
But during the winter, I'm, we were in school all the time. I could sit in the, in the--I do remember when I was in high school that I had to go on the streetcars, they called it then, to [Henry Highland] Garnet High School [Charleston. West Virginia]. And that was a long way, which I suppose at my age, going to high school, that might not have been so good at that time. But I never had any problems. I never realized that until, one time decided to take the train from, take the train to--from Howard [University, Washington, D.C.] , I think it was, to West Virginia. And I felt, I got into the train and I was seated, and a black curtain fell down in front of my face when I got to Virginia because of segregation.$$They actually dropped a curtain?$$Oh, yes. A big black curtain came down to separate you. And when, you know the thing happened to Rosa Parks [civil rights pioneer], is when she wouldn't get seated, I said, oh, my goodness. But interestingly enough, the next time I took that train, I didn't sit down. I just walked the aisle. And the porters on the train encouraged me but I never was ever hurt or anybody ever said anything to me.$Now, tell me about some of your activities, because you've had, an extensive, I guess, an extensive list of volunteer activities that you've been involved with.$$Well, I'm, on the Board of Trustees of the Art Institute of Chicago [Illinois]. And I'm on the Women's Board of the Art Institute of Chicago. I am on the Board of Directors of Urban Gateways of Chicago [youth art education foundation]. And this Holy Family Lutheran School [Chicago, Illinois] that I work with. I'm on the Vesting Committee of the School of Social Work where I graduated from at the University of Chicago [Chicago, Illinois]. And I wrote them all down too. My husband [Charles Runner] is on the Lyric Opera [of Chicago] Board of Trustees. And we're very much interested in things that they're doing in terms of outreach. But the thing that is so exciting I think, is the kind of thing that I have been doing with black creativity at the Museum of Science and Industry [Chicago, Illinois], where we try to--I'm on that advisory board. And what we do is to be sure that, that the public is aware of the contributions that blacks have made in science. And now some of the larger museums have taken on an outreach program, which they had never did before, when I first came to Chicago. And just recently they had one of the most outstanding programs of, which is very similar to what we did at the Museum of Science and Industry, where the contributions of black Americans in the arts. And my husband and I are very much interested in the arts too.