In Memoriam

Cyprian Lamar Rowe (1934-2008)

Cyprian Rowe, a religious leader and university professor, died recently at a hospice facility from Alzheimer’s disease in Towson, Maryland. He was 74 years old.

A native of Dalton, Georgia, Rowe was a graduate of Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. He went on to earn a master’s degree at Hunter College in New York City. He taught at Marist until 1968, when he began doctoral studies at Howard University in Washington. During this period he taught classes at Federal City College, which later was reorganized as part of the University of the District of Columbia.

After receiving his doctorate in African studies at Howard in 1972 Rowe joined the faculty at the University of Rhode Island, where he helped develop the black studies program. He later taught at Temple University in Philadelphia, Loyola University of Chicago, and the University of Maryland. In 1984 he earned a master’s of social work degree from Catholic University of America.

Rowe was executive director of the National Office for Black Catholics and the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus. Criticizing the small number of black clergy and leaders in the Catholic Church, Rowe left the church in 1997 but returned three years later.

Beautine Hubert DeCosta-Lee (1913-2008)

Beautine DeCosta-Lee, longtime educator and civil rights activist, died at a retirement community in Memphis, Tennessee, from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. She was 95 years old.

The granddaughter of slaves, she was raised near Savannah, Georgia, by parents who were both teachers. She graduated from Spelman College high school in 1930 and went on to what is now Savannah State University. She later earned a master’s of social work degree from Atlanta University.

DeCosta-Lee was dean of women at South Carolina State University and taught sociology at Alabama State University. In Alabama she participated in the Montgomery bus boycott led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In 1957 she moved to Baltimore when her husband Frank DeCosta was named founding dean of the graduate school at Morgan State University. During this time, Beautine was a social worker for the public school system in Baltimore.