Rukiya-DillahuntRukiya Dillahunt, Education and Labor Activist

Rukiya Dillahunt, born Elaine Dillahunt, is a retired educator and active advocate. Dillahunt grew up in Charleston, South Carolina and recounts how her youth was impacted by Jim Crow laws. In 1963, encouraged by the NAACP, Rukiya engaged in one of her first activist efforts, joining high school friends in an attempt to integrate a movie theater. After high school, she went on to earn her undergraduate degree from West Virginia State University and then received a Masters in Special Education. Dillahunt moved to North Carolina in 1978. There, she convinced the Assistant Superintendent of Wake County Schools to give her a job for her background in education, an experience that nourished her commitment to education advocacy work. In this oral history, Rukiya discusses her experience organizing with Black Workers for Justice, as well as her tenure as a teacher and assistant principal in the Wake County School System. She also provides insight about the school-to-prison pipeline and its implications for North Carolina’s youth.


The entire interview is available in the Duke Human Rights Archive.