Ava DuVernay, LL CooL J And More Named Recipients Of Harvard’s 2017 W.E.B. Du Bois Medals


September 19, 2017

 Ava DuVernay (Photo credit: Michael Rowe) , LL Cool J (Photo via: Reuters Images)

It’s another honor for Ava DuVernay and LL Cool J! 

On Monday, the visionary filmmaker and hip-hop pioneer were announced as two of the recipients of Harvard University’s 2017 W.E.B. Du Bois Medals for their “contributions to African and African American history and culture,” according to the Washington Post.


The honor comes fresh off of DuVernay’s documentary “13th” winning four Emmy awards and a day after she was named No. 4 on “The Root’s” annual list of the 100 most influential African Americans. As for LL Cool J, the news comes about a month after he was announced as the Kennedy Center’s first hip-hop honoree. 

DuVernay and LL Cool J will be honored alongside Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile, artist Kara Walker, Microsoft Chairman John Thompson, Ford Foundation President Darren Walker, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, and educator Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer, who will be posthumously honored. The medal was named after W.E.B. Du Bois, one of the most influential scholars, activists and political thinkers of the 20th century. 

“These eight new recipients of the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal look to the future as they celebrate the past,” Harvard professor and Hutchins Center director Henry Louis Gates Jr. told the Boston Globe. “They bring their genius and their abiding sense of social responsibility to the arts, public service, the corporate realm and philanthropy. To tie their names to the great Du Bois honors all, and advances the Hutchins Center’s mission to educate, to interrogate and to inspire.” 


The fitfth-annual ceremony is set to be held at Harvard’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts on October 4. 

Congratulations to all of this year’s recipients!  

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