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Top 30 Black Influencers




DR. HAZEL DUKES is the indefatigable civil rights advocate and political activist who spent most of her life “getting into the good trouble” which the late John Lewis espoused. 

Born in Montgomery, Alabama, during the Jim Crow era, her family moved to New York and settled in Long Island where she found work in the Nassau County Attorney’s office and found purpose as a community organizer before joining the local NAACP chapter.

Marches and protests which led to arrests were routine behaviors for Dukes, the community activist who managed to graduate from college while simultaneously launching her outspoken campaigns for minority group rights.  She subsequently held high profile public jobs with the State of New York Mortgage Agency and the NYC Off Track Betting Corporation.

An NAACP household name, Dukes served as its National President from 1989 to 1992.   Her political activism continued unabated, resulting in work with President Johnson’s programs in the ‘60s and her outspoken criticism of Presidents Reagan and Bush in the ‘80s, unpleased with their policies that she found averse to civil rights advances in the ‘80s. 

Today, Dukes is the New York State NAACP president as she continues to advocate for social change and unfinished civil rights business.