C. Delores Tucker: Social Activist and

C. Delores Tucker. Public Domain


Cynthia Delores Tucker was a civil rights activist, politician and advocate for African-American women. Best known for her participation in theand later for taking a strongly condemning misogynistic and violent rap lyrics, Tucker advocated for the rights of women and minority groups in the United States.


1968: Appointed chair of Pennsylvania Black Democratic Committee

1971: First woman and first African-American secretary of state in Pennsylvania.

1975: First African-American woman to be elected as vice president of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party

1976: First African-American to be appointed as president of the National Federation of Democratic Women

1984: Elected as chair of the Democratic Party’s National Black Caucus; Co-founder and chair of the National Congress of Black Women

1991: Established and served as president of the Bethune-DuBois Institute, Inc

The Life and Career of C. Delores Tucker

Tucker was born Cynthia Delores Nottage on October 4, 1927 in Philadelphia. Her father, the Reverend Whitfield Notttage was an immigrant from the Bahamas and her mother, Captilda was a devout Christian and feminist.  Tucker was the tenth of thirteen children.

After graduating from Philadelphia High School for Girls, Tucker attended Temple University, majoring in finance and real estate. Following her graduation, Tucker attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

In 1951, Tucker married William “Bill” Tucker. The couple worked in real estate and insurance sales together.

Tucker was involved in local NAACP efforts and other civil rights organizations throughout her life. During the 1960s Tucker was appointed as an officer of a local office of the national civil rights organization. Working with activist Cecil Moore, Tucker fought to end racist employment practices in Philadelphia’s post office and construction departments. Most notably, in 1965 Tucker organized a delegation from Philadelphia to participate in the Selma to Montgomery march with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As a result of Tucker’s work as a social activist, by 1968, she was appointed as chair of the Pennsylvania Black Democratic Committee. In 1971, Tucker became the first African-American woman to be appointed as Pennsylvania’s secretary of state. In this position, Tucker established the first Commission on the Status of Women.

Four years later, Tucker was appointed as the vice president of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. She was the first African-American woman to hold this position. And in 1976, Tucker became the first black president of the National Federation of Democratic Women.

By 1984, Tucker was elected as chair of the Democratic Party’s National Black Caucus.

That same year, Tucker returned to her roots as a social activist to work with Shirley Chisolm. Together, the women established the National Congress of Black Women.

By 1991, Tucker founded the Bethune-DuBois Institute, Inc. The purpose was to help African-American children develop their cultural awareness through educational programs and scholarships.

In addition to establishing organizations to help African-American woman and child, Tucker launched a campaign against rap artists whose lyrics promoted violence and misogyny. Working with conservative politician Bill Bennett, Tucker lobbied companies such as Time Warner Inc. for providing financial support to companies who profited from rap music.


Tucker died on October 12, 2005 after a long illness. 


“Never again will black women be disregarded. We will have our share and parity in American politics.”

 “She was left out of history and betrayed then and now on the eve of the 21st Century, and they are tying to leave her out of history and betray her again.”

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Lewis, Femi. "C. Delores Tucker: Social Activist and." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, thoughtco.com/c-delores-tucker-social-activist-45251. Lewis, Femi. (2020, August 26). C. Delores Tucker: Social Activist and. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/c-delores-tucker-social-activist-45251 Lewis, Femi. "C. Delores Tucker: Social Activist and." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/c-delores-tucker-social-activist-45251 (accessed March 29, 2023).