Botwc Firsts

Colin Kaepernick Receives Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Medal

Colin Kaepernick Receives Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Medal

Photo credit: Steven Senne/AP Photo 

On Thursday, former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick officially received Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Medal. The athlete turned activist was among eight recipients who were honored for their contributions to Black history and culture at a ceremony presented by Harvard's Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. 

"I feel like it's not only my responsibility, but all our responsibilities as people that are in positions of privilege, in positions of power, to continue to fight for them and uplift them, empower them," Kaepernick said during his acceptance speech. "Because if we don't we become complicit in the problem."

At the request of Kaepernick, his acceptance speech was not recorded nor broadcasted. Read the full transcript of his speech below. 

The other honorees are artist Kehinde Wiley, comedian Dave Chappelle, business executive Kenneth Chenault, philanthropist Pamela Joyner, social justice activist Bryan Stevenson, psychologist and author Florence Ladd, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Ann Jackson. 

Congratulations to all of this year's honorees! 

Back to Top