C. DeLores Tucker
National Visionary

October 4, 1927 - October 12, 2005
Born in Philadelphia, PA

Politician, civil rights activist, youth advocate

C. DeLores Tucker was the first female African American Secretary of State in the nation, serving the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from 1971-1977. She was also the convening founder and chair of the National Political Congress of Black Women. Tucker was a renowned civil rights activist and politician who tirelessly served on behalf of historically-oppressed minorities and women.

Tucker attended Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. She was an active participant in the Civil Rights Movement as a part of the Selma-to-Montgomery March in 1965 and as a delegate to the historic White House Conference on Civil Rights.

In the 1970’s, Tucker served as Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State. During her tenure, she encouraged the appointment of more women judges and African Americans to boards and commissions than ever in that state’s history. She also led the effort to make Pennsylvania one of the first states to develop voter registration by mail and reduce the voting age from 21 to 18. She further established statutes that would permit students to register and vote from their college districts.

Tucker chaired the Black Caucus of the Democratic National Committee for 11 years and spoke at five Democratic conventions. As a member of the Democratic National Committee, Tucker was one of the original organizers of the Black Caucus and Women’s Caucus. She worked to ensure that women, blacks and minorities had fair representation within the Democratic Party. She was the first African American to serve as President of the National Federation of Democratic Women. She is also a founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus.

In 1992, Tucker succeeded Shirley Chisholm as the national chair of the National Political Congress of Black Women. As leader, she encouraged black women to participate in the political process as voters, candidates, policy makers, fundraisers and role models.

This interview has
been archived in the
NVLP Collection of
African American
Oral Histories at the
Library of Congress
American Folklife
Tucker established the Martin Luther King Jr. Association for Non-Violent Change in 1983 to develop programs and activities that amplify the teachings and principles of the late civil rights leader. In 1991, she founded the Bethune-DuBois Institute to promote the cultural and educational development of African-American youth. During this time, Dr. Tucker began a crusade against "gangsta" rap. She rallied against record companies to halt the distribution of popular music that she believed contained derogatory lyrics about women and minorities and had a negative impact on youth.

Tucker served as a member of the NAACP Board of Trustees and on the board of the Points of Light Foundation. She was also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Throughout her career, Tucker received more than 400 awards and honors including the NAACP Thurgood Marshall Award, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Service Award and the Philadelphia Urban League Whitney Young Award. She also received two honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Morris College (Alabama) and Villa Maria College (Pennsylvania).

Tucker passed away on October 12, 2005. She had a heart ailment and lung condition. Survivors include her husband, William L. Tucker.


C. Delores Tucker's Wikipedia Page

URL (Click to bookmark): http://www.visionaryproject.org/tuckercdelores