FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 16, 2023
Contact: Alicia Mercedes, email@example.com
WASHINGTON – Dr. Hazel N. Dukes, renowned activist and leader, will be awarded the NAACP Spingarn Medal in recognition of her years of transformative advocacy and brave leadership. The medal will be presented at the Spingarn Freedom Fund Awards Dinner during the 114th National Convention in Boston.
The NAACP Spingarn Medal acknowledges the highest or noblest achievement by a living African American in any honorable field during the preceding year or years. Dr. Dukes will be recognized for the immense impact she has had on the Association through her various leadership roles including serving as the current President of the New York State Conference. Dr. Dukes is a member of the NAACP National Board of Directors, the Executive Committee, and an active member of various Board of Directors sub-committees. Additionally, she serves as President of the Hazel N. Dukes & Associates Consultant Firm and she holds leadership positions within her New York community.
"Dr. Dukes is a woman of profound strength and courage, who has served as an unwavering pillar in our community for more than fifty years,"said NAACP President & CEO, Derrick Johnson."Led by her fierce determination, she has improved the lives of countless Black Americans and New Yorkers while bringing about lasting change that will be felt in the Black community for generations to come. Our network of 2 million activists continues to be inspired by, and learn from Dr. Dukes' tireless pursuit of justice. We are incredibly proud of the work she has done for us and are honored to present Dr. Dukes with our highest distinction."
Then-Chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors, Joel E. Spingarn, established the annual award in 1914. Previous Spingarn medal recipients include: Charles Drew, Cicely Tyson, Daisy Bates, Earl G. Graves Sr., George Washington Carver, Harry Belafonte, Jackie Robinson, James Clyburn, Jesse L. Jackson, Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mrs. Daisy Bates, Myrlie, Evers-Williams, the Honorable Nathaniel Jones, Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones, Sidney Poitier, and W.E.B. DuBois.
"Dr. Hazel Dukes' steadfast commitment to bettering the lives of Black Americans has empowered her to champion the needs of our community through political advocacy, social work, business development, and religious leadership," said NAACP Chair of the Board of Directors, Leon W. Russell. "I have had the honor and privilege to work alongside her on the Board of Directors for many years and am continually awestruck by the strength of her convictions and dedication to our continued fight for civil rights. It is only right that she is awarded the Spingarn Medal after her decades of service and visionary leadership. Because of Dr. Dukes, Black Americans can thrive."
"The sheer magnitude of Dr. Dukes' contributions to the NAACP, the State of New York, and to the Black community cannot be overstated," said NAACP Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, Karen Boykin-Towns. "From her work as the first Black employee in the Nassau County District Attorney's Office in 1966, to her time serving as the first Black vice-chair of the Nassau County Democratic Committee, Dr. Dukes continues to break down barriers every step of the way. As both a New Yorker and a Black woman, Dr. Dukes personally inspires me to persist in our advocacy in pursuit of a thriving Black America. She serves as a role model for every young Black activist, especially Black women, who hope to make waves wherever they go."
If you are interested in learning more about updates and programming for the NAACP's 114 National Convention in Boston from July 26th to August 1st, please fill out this RSVP form.
The NAACP advocates, agitates, and litigates for the civil rights due to Black America. Our legacy is built on the foundation of grassroots activism by the biggest civil rights pioneers of the 20th century and is sustained by 21st century activists. From classrooms and courtrooms to city halls and Congress, our network of members across the country works to secure the social and political power that will end race-based discrimination. That work is rooted in racial equity, civic engagement, and supportive policies and institutions for all marginalized people. We are committed to a world without racism where Black people enjoy equitable opportunities in thriving communities.
NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF - was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but now operates as a completely separate entity.