A Duke graduate who returned to Durham to launch the Beyu Caffe and made the restaurant an important place of culture and community received the Distinguished Service Award at the Samuel DuBois Cook Society Awards Tuesday night.
As CEO of the Beyu Group, Dorian Bolden has opened the Beyu Caffe in four locations around Durham, based on his vision of serving others through food, live music and a place for community discussion. He is a mentor to many young Black people and has promoted opportunities for people needing assistance.
“Dorian is an innovative Black business leader who also keeps alive culture (jazz music),” one nominator said of Bolden. “He connects the university and the local Black community. And he believes in the values of the Cook Society. For example, he assisted a man who came home from prison in finding work at Beyu. The Urban Hope youngsters in Walltown used to go over to talk to him about Black-owned business.”
Bolden was one of five members of the Duke and local community celebrated Tuesday at the Cook Society dinner. The hybrid event presented the awards in-person to the honorees but was streamed live for others to watch.
The mission of the Cook Society is to recognize, celebrate and affirm the presence of African-American students, faculty and staff at Duke. The awards were named to honor the legacy of scholarship and activism of Samuel DuBois Cook, a noted scholar and activist who was the university’s first Black faculty member. Cook later served as a university trustee.
In addition to Bolden, other Cook Society Awards went to:
- Alexis Joseph, a visual arts major and a member of the Duke women’s lacrosse team, received the undergraduate student award. Joseph also serves as the co-president of United Black Athletes, where she helps organize events and services to support the local community as well as the Black athletes on campus. She also is a mentor for GROWTH NC and Eyekonz lacrosse. Both organizations are dedicated to helping young Black girls achieve their goals and support their growth.
- Briana Davis, a graduate student researching the potential therapeutic use of microbial communities in the human intestine, received the graduate student award. Her research earned her the highly prestigious Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 2020. An alumna of N.C. Central University, Davis has partnered with faculty at NCCU and Duke to provide interactive workshops and career panels that introduce undergraduates to STEM careers.
- Annise Weaver, associate director of diversity, equity and inclusion and director of clinical operations in the Duke Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Services, received the staff award. Weaver has more than 15 years of experience developing initiatives that better serve diverse populations. She leads programs to integrate diversity, equity and inclusion training for staff, students and patients and serves as vice chair of the ME² (Motivate, Mentor, Educate and Empower) Employee Resource Groups for Black Staff.
- William A. Darity Jr., professor of public policy, African and African American Studies and economics and the director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity, received the Raymond Gavins Distinguished Faculty Award. Among Darity’s research focuses are inequality by race, class and ethnicity, stratification economics, schooling and the racial achievement gap, the history of economics, and the social-psychological effects of exposure to unemployment. Co-authored with A. Kirsten Mullen, his most recent book, “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century” (2020), has received numerous awards including the inaugural 2021 book prize from the Association of African American Life and History.
The ceremony can be viewed on YouTube.