C. DeLores Tucker / First Black Woman To Serve As Pa. Secretary Of State

By Off the BASN Sports Wire
Updated: October 20, 2005

PHILADELPHIA — Longtime civil rights activist C. DeLores Tucker, the first black woman to serve as Pennsylvania’s secretary of state, died Wednesday. She was 78.

C. DeLores Tucker

Ms. Tucker died at a suburban Philadelphia nursing home, according to the Terry Funeral Home of Philadelphia, which is handling arrangements. The cause of death was not immediately available.

“America has lost one of the great civil rights activists of our time,” Gov. Ed Rendell said in a statement released by his office. “DeLores Tucker worked with Dr. Martin Luther King and carried on Dr. King’s fight for decades. She did it with dedication, class, grace and dignity. The progress that she accomplished was significant and will benefit many Americans and Pennsylvanians for years to come.”

“She was an inspiration and driving force for success for me throughout my life,” Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street said, also in a written statement. “She counseled me as a young lawyer, encouraged me as a candidate and became a mentor to my children.”

As Pennsylvania’s secretary of state from 1971 to 1977, Ms. Tucker was responsible for running elections in the commonwealth. In addition to making changes to the election system, such as bringing about voter registration by mail, she instituted the first Commission on the Status of Women in Pennsylvania.

In 1985, Ms. Tucker led the founding of the National Political Congress of Black Women.

“Never again will black women be disregarded. We will have our share and parity in American politics,” Ms. Tucker said after the founding convention, which was attended by 450 women from 29 states. The group is now known as the National Caucus of Black Women.

Ms. Tucker also ran for Congress in 1992 from a Philadelphia district but lost in the Democratic primary.

Ms. Tucker was best known in recent years for her campaigns against violent and misogynistic lyrics in rap and hip-hop music. At a Time Warner shareholders meeting in 1995, she read lyrics from the company’s artists that depicted drug use and violence against women. Later that year, she and former Education Secretary William Bennett made a television commercial accusing music companies of celebrating rape, torture and murder.

Several lawsuits were filed stemming from her campaign, including a suit by Ms. Tucker and her husband against the estate of slain rapper Tupac Shakur, who had rhymed Ms. Tucker’s name with an obscenity. Ms. Tucker later sued Time and Newsweek magazines for libel in their reporting on the suit, but the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a decision dismissing the case.