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Tue, 10.04.1927

C. DeLores Tucker, Activist born

C. Delores Tucker

*C. Delores Tucker was born on this date in 1927. She was a Black politician and activist.

Born in Philadelphia to a minister and a "Christian feminist mother, Cynthia Delores Nottage was the tenth of eleven children.  She attended Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania-Wharton School.  In 1951, she married William "Bill" Tucker, a Philadelphia real estate agent, and worked in real estate and insurance sales early in her career.

She participated in the 1965 march in Selma, Alabama, and raised funds for the NAACP. Tucker inspired her home state to appoint more women judges and more women and African Americans to boards and commissions than ever before.  She also led the effort to make Pennsylvania one of the first states to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. As Chief of Elections of Pennsylvania, she led voter registration by mail and reduced the voting age from 21 to 18.

In 1971 Tucker became the first Black woman Secretary of State, serving Pennsylvania until 1977.  During this time, she instituted the first Commission on the Status of Women.   In 1991, she also founded the Bethune-DuBois Institute, Inc. to promote the cultural development of Black youth through scholarships and educational programs.  Dr. Tucker launched, and published, Vital Issues: The Journal of African American Speeches; an acknowledgment of its launching was inserted into the Congressional Record by then-Congressman William H. Gray.

Dr. Tucker was also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She was the founding chair in 1984 of the National Political Congress of Black Women.  She succeeded Shirley Chisholm as national chair of the organization, now called the National Congress of Black Women, in 1992.

As Chair, Dr. Tucker led the fight to include suffrage leader Sojourner Truth in the unfinished "portrait monument" at the Capitol, which depicted only white suffrage leaders. Through her efforts, legislation to accomplish this mission was introduced by Rep. Major Owens and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Dr. Tucker dedicated much of the last few years of her life to removing sexually explicit lyrics from rap and hip-hop tracks, citing a concern that the lyrics were misogynistic and threatened the moral foundation of the Black community.

Called "narrow-minded" by some rappers who often called her out in their lyrics, Dr. Tucker picketed stores that sold rap music and bought stock in labels like Sony, Time Warner, and others to protest hip-hop at their shareholders' meetings. She also fought against the NAACP's decision to nominate late rapper Tupac Shakur for one of its Image Awards. She filed a $10 million lawsuit against his estate for comments that the rapper made in his song "How Do U Want It?" on the album All Eyez on Me. This case was eventually dismissed.

Dr. Tucker died on October 12, 2005, at Suburban Woods Health Center in Norristown, Pennsylvania at the age of 78. In April 2006, a state historical marker honoring Tucker was unveiled in a ceremony at the State Museum of Pennsylvania by Governor Edward G. Rendell. In addition, it was announced that the North Building adjacent to the State Capitol Building will be renamed the Secretary C. Delores Tucker Building. The state marker is to be installed outside the entrance to the newly named building.

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