Lucy Diggs Slowe (1885-1936) served as principal of Shaw Junior High School, the city's first black junior high school, and the first dean of women at Howard University. She was also a competitive tennis player who, in 1917, was the first African American woman to win the singles title at the American Tennis Association's national tournament.
Slowe was born in Berryville, Virginia, the daughter of hotel proprietor Henry Slowe and his wife Fannie. She graduated from Howard University in 1908, where she helped found Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first Greek-letter society for African American women. She also received an M.A. from Columbia University in 1915.
Slowe taught at Armstrong Manual Training School, one of three DC colored high schools (the others were Dunbar, academic, and Cardozo, business). In 1919 she was appointed principal of Shaw Junior High School. In 1922 she became dean of women at Howard University. She held this position until her death.
In 1924 Slowe helped organize the National Association of College Women, and served as its first president. The association is dedicated to raising the standards in colleges for black women, developing women faculty, and securing scholarships. In 1942 the federal government opened Lucy D. Slowe Hall at Third and U streets, NW, as housing for single African American women working for the U.S. government during World War II. The Art Deco building, partially designed by architect Hilyard Robinson, remains today as a dormitory for Howard University. An elementary school at 14th and Jackson streets, NE, also bears her name.