Seven members of the Duke University-Durham community have been selected as 2014 Cook award winners, named for Samuel DuBois Cook, the first African-American faculty member at the university.
The Rev. Dr. William Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP, has been selected to receive the Cook Society's distinguished service award.
The winners will be honored at the 17th annual dinner and awards ceremony Tuesday, Feb. 18, at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club. All were chosen in appreciation of their work in furthering Cook's legacy.
Cook joined Duke in 1966 as a political scientist, educator and human rights activist, becoming the first African-American professor to hold a regular rank faculty appointment at a predominately white college or university in the South. The Cook Society was founded in 1997 to recognize and celebrate the African-American presence at the university.
"During this period of intense political acrimony, when questions are being raised about whether we're continuing to move forward or backwards in the local and nation struggle for respect, fairness and full inclusion, the values of Dr. Cook stand in stark relief. His focus on civil rights and his capacity to engage a wide spectrum of individuals in collaborative work for social justice stands as a model," said Ben Reese, vice president of the Office for Institutional Equity at Duke, which organizes the awards program. "As is the tradition of the Cook Society, we recognize and honor a wide range of courageous and committed individuals working to foster the 'beloved community' that was so important to Dr. Cook."
Barber is the convener of the Historic Thousands on Jones Street Peoples Assembly Coalition, which has aided in the passage of the Racial Justice Act of 2009, advocated for voting reforms such as same-day registration and early voting, and has re-framed marriage equality as a civil rights issue.
He is perhaps best known for mobilizing the Forward Together Moral Monday Movement that opposes recent policies by the governor and state legislature. The multi-racial, multi-generational movement of thousands has conducted protests at the N.C. General Assembly and around the state.
In addition, Barber has led the fight for educational equality, redistricting, health care reform, labor and worker rights, protection of immigration rights, reparations for women survivors of eugenics and the release of the Wilmington Ten. He has been arrested three times for civil disobedience.
He led the North Carolina NAACP State Conference to national recognition when he accepted the Juanita Jackson Mitchell, Esq. Award for legal activism, the highest award in the NAACP for Legal Redress for Advocacy. Former Gov. Beverly Purdue presented Barber with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina's highest citizenship award given to outstanding North Carolinians who have a proven record of service to the state.
Barber graduated cum laude from North Carolina Central University with a bachelor's degree in political science before receiving a Master of Divinity degree from Duke, where he was a Benjamin Mays Fellow and a Dean scholar.
Barber also has a doctoral degree from Drew University in Madison, N.J., with a concentration in public policy and pastoral care.
Other winners are:
-- Kerry Haynie, associate professor of political science and African & African American Studies, and the director of Duke's Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in the Social Sciences. He researches whether blacks and women engaged in the political process can change political decision-making and influence policy. Haynie is also the faculty coordinator of Duke's Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program, a national program with the fundamental objective to reduce the underrepresentation of certain minority groups on academic faculties. He is the editor of the journal Politics, Groups, and Identities author of numerous publications. In 2012 he was co-winner of the university's Diversity Award and co-winner of the Office for Institutional Equity's Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Award. In 2013 he received an award from the American Political Science Association's Women and Politics Research Section.
-- Naureen Huda, a Duke senior from Akron, Ohio, who is pursuing a chemistry degree with a minor in Spanish and who has volunteered for The Girls Club, a mentoring program administered through the Emily K Center, since her first year at Duke. As president of The Girls Club this past year, Huda has engaged the program's mentees more closely with the Duke community. This year, for example, she took them to a Duke women's basketball game. Huda has also volunteered with the Duke Pre-Health Volunteer Program, Duke Children's Hospital Ronald McDonald Family Room and tutored Hispanic adults in English as a second language. Huda, who has maintained a place on the Dean's List, intends to become a physician and integrate her passion for public service with health care.
-- Camille Jackson, a writer and communications specialist in Duke's Office of News & Communications, works with faculty and staff across many departments to publicize campus activities and connect Duke experts with media outlets around the world. Jackson plays a central role in highlighting the work of the African and African American Studies Department and diverse scholars across the Duke community by writing about their work. Jackson led communication efforts for the 50th anniversary of the university's first black undergraduate students this past year. Using library resources, she took the lead in creating the project's website. In recognition of this work, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) honored Jackson's efforts with its 2013 gold medal for the nation's most outstanding communications to promote diversity in higher education.
-- Patricia James, a staff specialist in the Duke Community Service Center managing finances and payroll, has been a member of the Duke community for 35 years. James founded the Durham Triple Play-Long Ball Baseball Program for boys ages 13-18, to involve them in athletics and encourage their academic activities. In 2010 she enlisted the help of Pat O'Conner, CEO and president of Minor League Baseball, who agreed to sponsor the program if she would run it and require players to stay in school. Other league rules include proper attire and demeanor at games, no sagging pants, no profanity and no taunting players, coaches or umpires at the games, which are free and open to the public. She has assured the Long Ball Baseball Program's future growth by incorporating it as a nonprofit.
-- Roketa Shanell Sloan is a fourth year Ph.D. candidate in Duke's Program in Genetics and Genomics. She is completing her dissertation research that utilizes budding yeast as a model organism to investigate genomic instability induced by a chemotherapeutic drug. Originally from South Carolina, Sloan completed her undergraduate work at Saint Augustine's University in Raleigh and obtained her M.S. degree in biology from North Carolina Central University. Sloan is the president of the Duke University Bouchet Society, a student-led organization whose mission is to strengthen the efforts of underrepresented minority graduate students pursuing careers in the sciences and education, as well as encouraging diversity and inclusion in the sciences. She has helped coordinate outreach programs at local colleges and universities to promote graduate work in the sciences to underrepresented minority undergraduates.
-- David Stein, senior education partnership coordinator for the Duke Durham Neighborhood Partnership, has served as a liaison to eight partnership schools. He has developed and run outreach programs to help underrepresented minority students as well as teachers and administrators. One program encourages minority students to pursue careers in medicine and science. Another brings them to Duke's campus for a day. Stein has developed enrichment programs for teachers and administrators, including a program that allows them to learn Spanish and Latino culture, and a global health summer immersion program. He arranges enrichment activities on campus during Teacher Work Days and oversees "Tickets for Teachers" in partnership with Duke Performances. Stein has also partnered with Duke's Center for African and African American Research to create the John Hope Franklin Young Scholars program.
For more information and to find a list of past award recipients, visit www.duke.edu/web/cooksociety.