Dr. Ruth Wright Hayre dedicated her life to bettering the lives of children in our community. She made a difference in the lives of countless children in Philadelphia and her legacy and love of education continues on through the Wright-Hayre Fund, a fund that she established at The Philadelphia Foundation.
Dr. Hayre’s family was one in which education was a rich tradition. Her grandfather, Richard Robert Wright, lived through the Civil War and was educated at a school in Atlanta set up by Northern missionaries for newly freed slave children. He attended Oxford and Harvard Universities and the University of Pennsylvania, and later became president of Georgia State College. At the age 67, he founded Citizens and Southern Bank of Philadelphia. The public school at 28th Street and Susquehanna Avenue is named for him.
Her parents, likewise, were pioneering educators. Richard R. Wright, Jr., was bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and president of Wilberforce University, where he developed a concept for black economic development and self-sufficiency. He was said to be the 10th African-American man in the U.S. to earn a doctorate, and the first to receive a Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania.
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