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Black and African American North Carolina Award Winners

By Alyssa Putt, Government and Heritage Library, 2021

See also: History of the North Carolina Awards; North Carolina Awards; North Carolina Awards ceremony programs (NC Digital Collections)

The North Carolina Award, the state's highest civilian honor, was established by the General Assembly in 1961 and the first award-winners were honored in 1964. Artist Romare Bearden was the first African American to receive the award in 1976. 

As of 2021, 314 North Carolinians have honored as recipients of the North Carolina Award, 34 of whom have been Black or African American. 

Alphabetical List of Black and African American Medal Winners

Angelou, Maya. Literature, 1987
Baker, Etta. Fine Arts, 2003
Barber, William J., II, Rev. Dr. Public Service, 2019
Barrax, Gerald W. Literature, 2009
Bayes, Ronald. Literature, 1989
Bearden, Romare. Fine Arts, 1976
Biggers, John. Fine Arts, 1995
Brown, Robert J. Public Service, 2016
Burke, Selma. Fine Arts, 1982
Chambers, Julius L. Public Service, 2002
Corbett, Dr. Kizzmekia S. Science, 2020
Davis, Charles (Chuck). Fine Arts, 1992
Donaldson, Lou. Fine Arts, 2012
Fletcher, William. Science, 2000
Flood, Dr. Dudley E. Public Service, 2021
Franklin, John Hope. Literature, 1993
Freelon, Philip G. Fine Arts, 2017
Frye, Henry. Public Service, 2007
Green, Jaki Shelton. Literature, 2003
Kenan, Randall. Literature, 2005
Koontz, Elizabeth Duncan. Public Service, 1977
Lee, Howard N. Public Service, 2015
Lucas, John Harding. Public Service, 2013
Lynch, Loretta. Public Service, 2017
Marsalis, Branford. Fine Arts, 2011
Mitchiner, Reginald. Science, 1977
Moore, Lenard D. Literature, 2014
Rivera Jr., Alexander M. Fine Arts, 2008
Spaulding, Maria F. Public Service, 2021
Talley, André Leon. Literature, 2021
Taylor, Billy. Fine Arts, 1993
Walker, LeRoy T. Public Service, 2004
Weatherford, Carole Boston. Literature, 2010
Williams, William T. Fine Arts, 2006


Biographical essays are available for each North Carolina Award recipient in the ceremony program for that year. Ceremony programs are accessible online here in the North Carolina Digital Collections.

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