While history might remember C. Delores Tucker as a fiery champion who shouted down the violent and sexist rap lyrics of the ’90’s, the facts reveal she was much more than that. The Philadelphia native is also the first Black woman named secretary of state in Pennsylvania and a notable civil rights activist.
Born Cynthia Delores Nottage, she attended college at Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business ahead of her political career. In the ’60’s, Tucker, who married her husband William in 1951, was deeply entrenched in the civil rights movement and marched alongside Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965. She also worked closely with the NAACP.
In 1971, Gov. Milton Shapp was appointed as state secretary, and formed the first Commission on the Status of Women. Tucker was fired in 1977 for allegedly giving speeches written by state employees and winning honors for them.
In 1990, Tucker and 15 other Black men and women formed the African-American Women For Reproductive Freedom organization. Throughout the ’90’s, Tucker challenged the lyrics of The 2 Live Crew, N.WA., the late 2Pac and others for their bawdy lyrics. Her stance made her the targets of harsh criticism from the rap industry and from free speech advocates.
C. Delores Tucker passed in 2005.
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