Julia B. Anderson, former special assistant at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and founding director of the Institute for Racial and Ethnic Health Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, died June 25 at her Pikesville home from lymphedema, a blockage that affects the immune system.
She was 66.
“She was an extremely gifted thinker when it came to children and families,” said Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a longtime friend.
“I’ve never known anyone with more grit,” Dr. Hrabowki said. “She was indefatigable, and even though she had health problems for years, she never gave up. We used to call her the ‘Amazing Dr. Julia B. Anderson.’
“Julia fought the good fight,” he said. “She won the race.”
Dr. Thelma T. Daley, chair of the National Council of Negro Women and national director of Women in the NAACP, said Dr. Anderson had been a friend of more than 30 years.
“Julia was a meticulous researcher and very precise. She had a thirst for knowledge for many different things,” Dr. Daley said. “She was a person who gave freely of her knowledge, wisdom and resources.”
The daughter of Eugene Anderson, a truck driver, and Rebecca Anderson, a nursery school educator, Julia Blanche Anderson was born in Baltimore and raised on Lauretta Avenue in West Baltimore.
While attending Edmondson High School, she sang with the school choir as a soprano. She was also a member of the newspaper and yearbook staff, and student council president from 1968 to 1969.
After graduating from Edmondson in 1969, she began her college career at what is now Coppin State University, where she was an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
“She was the first member of her family to attend college,” Dr. Hrabowski said. “Here was the little black girl who grew up in Baltimore who saw that education can transform lives — and she came to represent the best in education.”
Following her graduation from Coppin in 1974, Dr. Anderson taught English in Baltimore public schools before enrolling at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she obtained a master’s degree in education community development and planning in 1976.
She remained at Michigan and earned a master’s degree in 1977 in social work, then in the …