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Council Adjourns in Hickambottom’s Honor

Published on Monday, January 24, 2022 | 1:56 pm
 
Dolores Hickambottom (File photo)

Pasadena Now has learned that acting upon Mayor Victor Gordo’s request the City Council adjourned Monday in honor of local activist Dolores Hickambottom.

Hickambottom, 90, died last month while the City Council was on break.

Hickambottom, a 57-year resident of Altadena, was born in 1931 in New Orleans, and served as a tireless advocate for equal opportunity since her four children, Ann Marie, Elbie Jr. (Skip), Leslie and John, began attending local schools.

The family came to local prominence when Elbie Hickambottom Sr., served on the Board of Education following the landmark case Pasadena City Board of Education v. Spangler, which made the Pasadena Unified School District the first district west of the Mississippi to implement busing under a court ruling. He died in 2003. The Pasadena Unified School District continues to meet in the Elbie J. Hickambottom Board Room named in his honor.

Along with her husband, Dolores was instrumental in starting the Pasadena Educational Foundation in 1971.

Last month, Pasadena Unified Superintendent Brian McDonald said he was deeply saddened by her passing.

“Mrs. Hickambottom has been a stalwart of the community who dedicated herself to fighting for the rights of those in our community who were disenfranchised,” McDonald said, “Along with her husband, Elbie J. Hickambottom, for whom the PUSD boardroom is named, she was a strong advocate for public schools and especially our PUSD schools. Together they were an integral part of the fight to integrate our public schools in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Mrs. Hickambottom was not only a strong supporter of public schools, but was a founding member of the Pasadena Educational Foundation which provides significant resources and support to our district.”

She has also been active in campaigns for civil rights, women’s rights, family issues and education.

She was instrumental in the election of Loretta Thompson Glickman. In 1977, Thompson-Glickman became the first Black woman elected as a Pasadena city director (now known as councilmembers). Four years later, she became the city’s first Black vice mayor, before rotating into the mayor’s chair in 1982.

She also served as her field representative and later served on the staffs of State Senators Walter Stiern, Richard Polanco and Jack Scott.

Hickambottom’s work did not stop there. She also provided advice to several police chiefs.

She later attended Barack Obama’s inauguration.

In 2014, Assemblyman Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) and the California Legislative Black Caucus honored local Dolores at a ceremony in the state Capitol as an “Unsung Hero of the Civil Rights Movement” for her lifetime quest for equality in social, political and educational opportunities.

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