Hon. Dr. DeLores Tucker October 4, 1927 –
October 12, 2005
C. DeLores Tucker (née Cynthia Delores Nottage) was an African American politician
and civil rights
activist best known for her participation in the Civil Rights Movement and stance against gangsta rap
Born in Philadelphia
to a minister from the Bahamas and a "Christianfeminist
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.
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.
In 1990, Tucker, along with 15 other
African American women and men, formed the African-American Women for
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.
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
In 1971, Tucker became the first
black female Secretary of State when Pennsylvania GovernorMilton Shapp
appointed her Secretary of the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania. During her tenure, she instituted the first Commission on the Status of Women.
Shapp fired Tucker in September 1977 for allegedly using state employees to
write speeches for which she received honorariums.
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
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. Tucker also launched, and served as publisher of the
publication, Vital Issues: The Journal of African American Speeches.
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.
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.
She also fought against the NAACP's decision to nominate late rapper Tupac Shakur
for one of its Image Awards
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 B--ch" from the same album, inflicted
emotional distress, were slanderous and invaded her privacy. This case was
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
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
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 LadyHillary Rodham Clinton in the book It Takes A Village. The National Women's Political Caucus
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
On April 25, 2006, a state
historical marker honoring Tucker was unveiled during a ceremony at the State Museum of Pennsylvania, in Harrisburg. The unveiling of the marker
was done by Governor Ed Rendell and Bill Tucker.
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
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.
Tucker died on Wednesday, October
12, 2005 at Suburban Woods Health Center in Norristown, Pennsylvania at the age of 78.