Ophelia Settle Egypt, 81, an educator, author and social worker who in 1957 founded one of Washington's first birth-control counseling clinics, died May 25 at Providence Hospital of lung ailments.
A former probation officer with the Juvenile Court in Washington and before that the director of the Ionia R. Whipper Home for unmarried mothers, then the only such facility in the city for black women, Mrs. Egypt received a foundation grant in 1957 to organize the Parklands Neighborhood Clinic in far Southeast Washington. At the time, birth control information was not generally available at public health clinics in the city.
She decided to work in the area of birth control, Mrs. Egypt said, because "I'd been working at the wrong end of the problem with court cases and with unwanted children of deprived mothers."
Mrs. Egypt began by arranging informal meetings among Anacostia residents to discuss family planning and birth control. Within a year the program had become successful enough to move into permananent quarters in the basement of an office building on Alabama Avenue SE, and it included counseling for parents of small children.
In 1981, when the clinic moved to new offices on Stanton Road SE, it was carrying a caseload of 1,800 and its services included birth-control counseling and supplies and testing for venereal disease and pregnancy. It was renamed the Olivia Settle Egypt Clinic, and Mayor Marion Barry declared Oct. 15, 1981, Ophelia Settle Egypt Day in honor of Mrs. Egypt.
Mrs. Egypt was born in Clarksville, Tex., and graduated from Howard University. She held advanced degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University School of Social Work.
She taught at Fisk University in Tennessee, and in North Carolina and New Orleans, and at Howard University, where she helped develop a medical-social work curriculum. She had lived in Washington since 1939.
While at Fisk during the early 1930s, Mrs. Egypt worked for a time with James Weldon Johnson, the black poet and social activist. After retiring from the birth control clinic in 1968, she wrote a biography of Johnson for children, which was published in 1974.
She also was the author of a collection of interviews with former slaves, which were conducted during her travels in Tennessee and Kentucky from 1929 to 1931. That collection, called an "Unwritten History Of Slavery," was published in 1968. At the time of her death, Mrs. Egypt was revising it into a children's book.
Mrs. Egypt was a member of First Baptist Church of Highland Park.
Her husband, Ivory L. Egypt, died in 1953.
Survivors include a son, Ivory L. Jr., of Capitol Heights, and two grandchildren.