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Doris Richmond, who broke racial barriers, dies

Original post made on Jun 13, 2017

Doris Richmond, the first African-American to work full-time for the Palo Alto Library and the oldest member of the historic University AME Zion Church, has died at 95 following a period of declining health.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, June 13, 2017, 9:01 AM

Comments (8)

Posted by Miriam Palm
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 13, 2017 at 10:05 am

Miriam Palm is a registered user.

Oh, so sorry to hear this. I always treasured my encounters with Doris although they were not frequent. She was a lovely, non-judgmental person. I will miss her.

Posted by vmshadle
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 13, 2017 at 12:14 pm

What a wonderful life and career. A role model for us all.

Posted by Jonathan Brown
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 13, 2017 at 1:22 pm

Doris had an amazing way of using history, stories, and her keen eye to make people feel welcome in our neighborhood (as I was fortunate to experience 14 years ago when we first met). We have lost a treasure, but her memory will continue to inspire.

Posted by Diane Jennings
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2017 at 4:27 pm

Thanks, Jay, for this wonderful story of Doris's life. Those of us who had an opportunity to work with Doris during her career with the Library know how her spirit, energy, and always active mind contributed to her long life and many accomplishments to the community.

Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 13, 2017 at 6:59 pm

Does anyone know the history of the white supremacist deed restrictions on Palo Alto properties that are mentioned in this article? I presume these restrictions are now illegal and removed from city law. When were they removed? Were any local activists or organizations involved in overturning these restrictions, or were they voided by a change in state or federal law?

Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2017 at 7:13 pm


The deed restrictions still exist but became unenforceable directly, segregation later had to be enforced via lending practicices, zoning restrictions, and so on.

Posted by casey
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 14, 2017 at 5:08 pm

casey is a registered user.

@resident - These deed restrictions are called "racially restrictive covenants." They were stricken down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1948 in a case entitled Shelly v. Kraemer.

Web Link

Here's another source for some local history on the matter:

Web Link

Posted by Judith Spirn
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 17, 2017 at 11:26 am

I worked with Doris, when I first was hired at PACL. She was all about family, community, and Church. Doris was really wonderful to all her co-workers. After she retired, whenever she came by, she treated us like long-lost family. And Doris always looked regal, when she dressed up for any event outside of work.
Michael, Kevin, and family, and her three Grandchildren, it was a privilege to get to know Doris. She leaves behind a very remarkable legacy, and she will never be forgotten by all those whose lives she touched.

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