C. Delores Tucker

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C. Delores Tucker
Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
In office
January 20, 1971 – September 21, 1977
Governor Milton Shapp
Preceded by Joseph Kelley
Succeeded by Barton Fields
Personal details
Born (1927-10-04)October 4, 1927
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died October 12, 2005(2005-10-12) (aged 78)
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Bill Tucker
Alma mater Temple University
The Wharton School
Profession Salesperson, Politician, Activist

Cynthia Delores Tucker (née Nottage) (October 4, 1927 – October 12, 2005)[1] was an African-American, politician, and civil rights activist best known for her participation in the Civil Rights Movement and her stance against gangsta rap music.

Early life[edit]

Tucker's house on Lincoln Drive in Philadelphia

Born in Philadelphia to a minister from the Bahamas and a "Christian feminist mother" on October 4, 1927, she was the tenth of thirteen children. Tucker attended Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business. She was later the recipient of two honorary doctoral degrees from Morris College in Sumter, South Carolina and Villa Maria College in Pennsylvania, and for this reason, she is sometimes referred to as "Dr. Tucker".

In 1951, she married William "Bill" Tucker, a successful Philadelphia real estate agent and she herself worked in real estate and insurance sales early in her career.

Civil activities[edit]

Tucker had a long history in the Civil Rights Movement. Early on, her civil activities included participating in the 1965 march in Selma, Alabama alongside the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and raising funds for the NAACP.[citation needed]

In 1990, Tucker, along with 15 other African American women and men, formed the African-American Women for Reproductive Freedom.[2] She was the convening founder and national chair of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc. (NCBW), having succeeded the Hon. Shirley Chisholm in 1992.[citation needed]

Tucker also was responsible for the Governor’s appointment of 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 was a leader in instituting a voter registration by mail and reducing the voting age from 21 to 18 years of age

Political career[edit]

In 1971, Tucker became the first black female Secretary of State when Pennsylvania Governor Milton Shapp appointed her Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. During her tenure, she instituted the first Commission on the Status of Women.[3] Shapp fired Tucker in September 1977 for allegedly using state employees to write speeches for which she received honorariums.[4] Two years later, one of Tucker's successors as Secretary of the Commonwealth, Dr. Ethel D. Allen, would also be fired for using public employees to write speeches.[5]

She was founder and president of the Bethune-DuBois Institute, Inc., which she established in 1991 to promote the cultural development of African American youth through scholarships and educational programs.[3] Tucker also launched, and served as publisher of the publication, Vital Issues: The Journal of African American Speeches.

Hip hop music[edit]

Tucker dedicated much of the last few years of her life to condemning sexually explicit lyrics in rap and hip-hop tracks, citing a concern that the lyrics were misogynistic and threatened the moral foundation of the African American community.[6][7]

Called "narrow-minded" by some rappers who often mentioned her in their lyrics, Tucker picketed stores that sold rap music and bought stock in Sony, Time Warner, and other companies in order to protest hip-hop at their shareholders' meetings.[6] She also fought against the NAACP's decision to nominate late rapper Tupac Shakur for one of its Image Awards[6] and 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, in which Shakur rapped " C. Delores Tucker you's a motherfucker / Instead of trying to help a nigga you destroy a brother". In her lawsuit, Tucker claimed that comments in this song, and on the track "Wonda Why They Call U Bitch" from the same album, inflicted emotional distress, were slanderous and invaded her privacy.[8] This case was eventually dismissed.[9]

A number of famous rappers have taken their stance against her. In his song "Church for Thugs", The Game raps "I've got more hatred in my soul than Pac had for De'ores Tucker." Jay-Z chimes in as well, with the lines "I don't care if you're C. Dolores Tucker or you're Bill O'Reilly, you only riling me up," from The Black Album's "Threat." Much of KRS-ONE and Channel Live's "Free Mumia" is a direct criticism of what the MCs see as Tucker's misplaced energy. Lil' Kim also referenced her in a leftover track entitled "Rockin' It" from her second studio album, where she raps "C. Delores T., Screw her, I never knew her", after Tucker dubbed her music "gangsta porno rap".[10] Lil Wayne also referenced her in his leftover song "Million Dollar Baby" rapping "Can't be banned I'm sorry Miss Delores." Rapper Eminem also mentioned Tucker in the D-12 song "Rap Game", in which he rapped the line "Tell that C. Delores Tucker slut to suck a dick." Tucker later went on to serve on the Advisory Board of the Parents Television Council until her death in 2005.[11]

Accolades[edit]

Selected as one of 25 of the World’s Most Intriguing People by People magazine, Tucker was also selected as a People Magazine 1996 Yearbook Honoree, and was featured in the inaugural issue of John F. Kennedy, Jr.'s George magazine for her crusade against gangsta rap. In addition, she has been acknowledged for her deep concern for children by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in the book It Takes A Village. The National Women's Political Caucus and Redbook also named her as the woman best qualified to be Ambassador to the United Nations. For five consecutive years, from 1972 through 1977, she was listed as among Ebony magazine's 100 Most Influential Black Americans. During that period, she was listed as Ladies Home Journal Nominee for Woman of the Year in both 1975 and 1976. She was recognized by Ebony as one of the '100 Most Influential Black Organization Leaders' in the country in 2001 and 2002. Tucker was also a prominent member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.[3]

On April 25, 2006, a state historical marker honoring Tucker was unveiled by Bill Tucker and Governor Ed Rendell in a ceremony at the State Museum of Pennsylvania, in Harrisburg.

In addition, it was announced that the North Building, which is adjacent to the State Capitol Building, was to be renamed the Secretary C. Delores Tucker Building. The state marker, which was commissioned by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, was installed outside the entrance to the building.

The marker reads:

C. Delores Tucker

1927—2005

Civil rights leader and activist for women, she was the first African American Secretary of State in the nation. Championed the PA Equal Rights Amendment and policies on affirmative action, voter registration by mail, and lowering the voting age to 18. Spearheaded the creation of the Commission on the Status of Women & led a successful crusade critical of the music industry and lyrics demeaning to women, African Americans, and children.[12]

Death[edit]

Tucker died on Wednesday, October 12, 2005 at Suburban Woods Health Center in Norristown, Pennsylvania at the age of 78.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "C. Delores Tucker". Biographies. NNDB. Retrieved August 24, 2007. 
  2. ^ Kathryn Cullen-DuPont (1 August 2000). Encyclopedia of women's history in America. Infobase Publishing. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-8160-4100-8. Retrieved 4 February 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c Dr. C. DeLores Tucker. University of Maryland. Last accessed August 24, 2007.
  4. ^ "State secretary Tucker fired by Shapp". The Daily Collegian. September 22, 1977. Retrieved February 18, 2012. 
  5. ^ Taylor, John (October 31, 1979). "Third Cabinet Member Fired". The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved February 15, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d Lamb, Yvonne Shinhoster (2005-10-13). "C. Delores Tucker Dies at 78; Rights and Anti-Rap Activist". The Washington Post. pp. B4. Retrieved 2007-08-24. 
  7. ^ Schulenberg, Caroline (2005-11-21). "Worst TV Show of the Week - "The Vibe Awards" on UPN". Parents Television Council. Archived from the original on 2005-12-10. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  8. ^ "C. DeLores Tucker files $10 million lawsuit against Tupac Shakur's estate". Jet. 1997. 
  9. ^ Welte, Jim. Court rejects Tupac critic case. MP3.com: October 2, 2006.
  10. ^ Associated Press Archive - July 1, 1998
  11. ^ PTC Advisory Board Member - C.Delores Tucker
  12. ^ PHMC: Historical Markers Program

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Joseph Kelley
Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
1971–1977
Succeeded by
Barton Fields