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Helen W. Harris
*Helen Webb Harris was born on this date in 1899. She was a Black educator, sports enthusiast, playwright and administrator.
Born in Washington, DC she was one of five children of Mr. and Mrs. Elias Webb. She was a graduate of the old M Street High School and the old Miner Normal School. She earned a bachelor's degree in English and history at Howard University and a master's degree in drama at Catholic University. Her warm family life and the high aspirations of her parents and teachers were a strong influence on her life, and inspiration for high achievement.
Harris taught in the D.C. schools for 40 years before retiring in 1955. She spent the last 30 years of that time as a history and English teacher at Banneker Senior High. Before that, she had taught in elementary schools. For her community work Harris was a founder of the Wake Robins Golf Club in 1937, an early area Black women's golfing organization. As a player, she was awarded a bronze plaque by the Eastern Golf Association. In the mid-1930s, she won the Evening Star Newspaper Trophy for senior women and was runner-up in a Maryland Women's championship competition. She was a member of the United Golfers Association Hall of Fame.
Two of her plays, "Frederick Douglass" and "Genifred, the Daughter of Toussaint L'Ouverture," were performed at Howard University. Her husband, Dr. Albert R. Harris, died in 1967. Helen Webb Harris died of cardiac arrest Aug. 11, 1984 at the Washington Hospital Center. She was a person of intense energy, many creative interests, and varied pursuits. Her survivors include a daughter, Helen H. Combs of Washington; two brothers, Byron F. Webb of Los Angeles and Waldo E. Webb of Washington; two sisters, Ethel W. Downing and Adelaide W. Henley, both of Washington; two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Her dignity, charm and abilities influenced persons in many walks of life. Former students acknowledge her as a foremost educator and deeply cherish their memories of her.