In Memoriam

Rachel Diggs Wilkinson (1913-2008)

Rachel D. Wilkinson, whose career as an educator spanned five decades, died recently in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She was 94 years old.

In 1933 Wilkinson graduated from what is now Winston-Salem State University. Denied admission to the teachers college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill because of her race, she instead enrolled at Teachers College at Columbia University, earning her master’s degree there in 1937.

She then returned to North Carolina to teach in the segregated public schools. In 1940 she was named dean of women at Winston-Salem State. During her tenure there she studied for her doctorate in higher education at New York University, earning her degree in 1952. After securing her doctorate, she joined the faculty of the City University of New York until her retirement in 1972.

Rachel Bassette Noel (1918-2008)

Longtime educator and political pioneer Rachel Bassette Noel died late last month in Colorado. She was 90 years old.

Born into a prominent black family in Hampton, Virginia, she was a graduate of the Hampton Institute and earned a master’s degree in sociology at Fisk University.

After her marriage in 1949, Noel and her husband settled in Colorado. In 1965 she was elected to the Denver school board, one of the first African-American elected officials in Colorado history. She later served on the faculty of Metropolitan State College and was a member of the board of regents of the University of Colorado. In 2003 Noel had a middle school in Denver named in her honor.