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Former Councilor and Civic Leader DeWitty Dies


Former Tulsa City Councilor and North Tulsa civic leader Dorothy DeWitty has died. She was 85. A native Oklahoman, DeWitty was born in 1926 in Bristow, Okla. She graduated from Langston University. Among her numerous achievements, DeWitty authored the book, Tulsa: A Tale of Two Cities; was a member of the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame; and founded the Center for Racial Justice.

Upon hearing the news of the death of former Tulsa Councilor Dorothy DeWitty – who was seated on the first Tulsa Council in 1990 – Mayor Dewey F. Bartlett Jr., Tulsa Council Chairman David Patrick, District 3, and Councilor Jack Henderson, District 1, released the following statements:

“I had the pleasure and honor of serving with Dorothy on the very first Council,” Mayor Bartlett said. “Dorothy was not only a strong representative for her district, but had a soothing personality that brought all of  us to support issues that helped our citizens through improvements in education, neighborhood rights and the respect of others. She was a lady who knew how to use the spoken word very clearly to make her point and still smile in delivering her message. She was a dear friend and a fine example to everyone. I wish her family the best as they mourn their loss but also celebrate Dorothy’s life.”

Councilor Patrick, who serves in the same seat that DeWitty held from 1990 to 1992, said, “Dorothy DeWitty was a great community leader that exemplified high moral values. Ms. DeWitty was the first Council woman to serve in District 3 and it’s been an honor to serve after her. Ms. DeWitty will certainly be missed and I’m proud to call her my friend.”

“Dorothy DeWitty was a phenomenal, classy woman with much style and grace, who didn’t mind telling you what she thought about you, or any other subject that may arise,” Councilor Henderson said. “I have much gratitude for all Ms. DeWitty did for this great city and state.” 

DeWitty received the Tulsa City Council’s Lifetime Public Service Award in 2008 in recognition of her achievements, public service and dedication to the citizens of Tulsa. She was honored for her broad acceptance of a diverse society and her efforts to unite our diverse community. DeWitty was a strong advocate for accountability and responsible government.

In 2008, The Tulsa World acknowledged her as a woman of firsts:

She was the first African-American woman elected to the City Council.

She was the first African-American female elementary school principal in Tulsa.

She was the first African-American president of the League of Women Voters.

She was the first African-American woman elected as congregation president of the Unitarian Universalist Church.

And she was the African-American person elected president of the former Tulsa Community Action Agency.

Services are still pending at Reynolds at Rose Hill Funeral Home.