BY DR. SHANTELLA SHERMAN, ACUMEN PUBLISHER
There was always something in her eyes. Something magical and familiar, warm, but also fiery. In an early assessment that would prove spot-on, Dorothy Rowley, was by and far, a kind soul. As an educator-turned-journalist, Rowley had an easy passion for the welfare of children. She wanted to ensure that they learned well and at the hands of compassionate and conscientious teachers. And when it came to Black youth, Rowley, championed their growth in the classics, the new and innovative, and above all else, the fundamentals of Black history. The latter helped bring us together and ultimately keep us together as friends beyond the Washington Informer newspaper newsroom where we met.
and surreal. She and I kept making tentative plans for lunch or touring Richmond on one of my research trips that never materialized. I called to speak with her the day she transitioned, but was told she was in too weakened a state so to do, but had something she wanted to tell me. That conversation never came.
Rowley, who I affectionately called “Dot” after the character Dot Cotton on Eastenders (both reminded me to watch my mouth), was a proud Virginian who earned college degrees from Virginia State University (MA) and Virginia Union University (BA). She was celebrated for her ability to excavate information from sources and extract comments from the press-weary. Rowley enhanced the newsrooms of several newspapers in a career that spanned more than forty years, including the Baltimore AFRO American and the Baltimore Examiner. She garnered journalism awards and accolades from many professional organizations, including the National Newspaper Publishers Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. She was a dedicated Lady of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated.
Rowley, ironically, was probably most loved for her sideline gig as half of the performing duo, “Miss Celie and Uncle Charlie,” which saw her singing, doing skits, and traveling the highways and bi-ways with childhood friend Eddie Radden III. The two were the best comedy pairing since Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder, seriously, and they never failed to bring love and laughter to viewers. Rowley was a proud mother and an even prouder grandma. She pursued God diligently and it showed in that vibrant laughter of hers.
It has taken more than a year to write this tribute because to her word Rowley did reveal her message to me. Not only did I hear you, Dot, but I was also listening. Thank you and Rest well.