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Tucker, C. DeLores (1927-2005)


Image Ownership: Public Domain

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 4, 1927 to Reverend Whitfield and Captilda Nottage, C. DeLores Tucker attended the highly competitive Philadelphia High School for Girls and then matriculated to Temple University where she studied finance and real estate. In 1951 she married businessman William Tucker and became an activist who at the time was counted among the 100 most influential black Americans. 

A successful realtor during the 1950s, Tucker became involved in civil rights activities.  In the 1960s she served as an officer in the Philadelphia NAACP and worked closely with the local branch president and activist Cecil Moore to end racist practices in the city’s post offices and construction trades.  Tucker gained national prominence when she led a Philadelphia delegation on the celebrated Selma to Montgomery march with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  By the decade’s end, Tucker’s expertise as a fund raiser for the NAACP, coupled with her Democratic Party affiliation, enabled her to be appointed chair of the Pennsylvania Black Democratic Committee.  

Her selection by Mayor James H.J. Tate to serve on the Philadelphia Zoning Commission in 1968 was the first of several prestigious political appointments, including vice chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party (1970) and in the following year, Secretary of State of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  In 1976 she became vice chair of the National Association of Secretaries of State, and in 1984 chair of the Democratic National Committee’s Black Caucus.

By the 1990s Tucker became a highly vocal opponent of the salacious lyrics and sexual innuendos associated with “gangsta rap.”  She joined conservative Republican Bill Bennett and launched a national campaign against Time Warner, Inc. for supporting and sustaining artists and companies profiting from rap music.  Tucker died on October 12, 2005. 

Darlene Clark Hine, Elsa Barkley Brown, Rosalyn Terborg-Penn (eds.) Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1993); Notable Black American Women, Thompson/Gale, 1993; New York Times, November 7, 2005.


University of California, Los Angeles

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