Patricia Kingsley Ritter was a graduate of the University of Iowa. She attended Yale Divinity School and received her master’s degree from the Yale School of Education.
In 1936, as a 16-year-old Iowa freshman, she organized a protest of a segregated restaurant. She staged a sit-in until the owners agreed to serve everyone. During her college years, she headed south to demonstrate against segregated facilities.
In Connecticut, Ritter served as New England director of the Citizens Committee on Displaced Persons. She helped many people who had fled Europe after World War II resettle in the United States.
In 1950, she was the first woman appointed to Connecticut’s Commission on Human Rights.
In the 1960s, Ritter and her husband George started the Connecticut Housing Investment Fund. The organization, which became a model for national programs, financed integrated and affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization projects throughout Connecticut.
In 1976, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the Board of Directors of the National Housing Partnership, Inc., an organization that promotes both integrated and affordable housing.
Ritter taught English, humanities, and sociology at the University of West Virginia, Hillyer College (University of Hartford), Hartford College for Women, and Loomis Chaffee School. She also spent a decade teaching English at Chinese universities.
In the late 1970s, Ritter created China in Connecticut, a foundation which served as one of the first education links between the U. S. and China after the Cultural Revolution.
Section 12, Lot 231
Congressional Record, Volume 151, Number 1, January 4, 2005
Hartford Courant. Editorial, December 14, 2004
Hartford Courant. Obituary, December 11, 2004
Hartford Courant. “Patricia Ritter Devoted Herself to Peace, Tolerance, Justice,” December 26, 2004
New York Times. “The Extraordinary Who Lived Among Us,” December 26, 2004
Photo Courtesy of Martha Ritter