2006 Gala Awardees

Article excerpt

Maya Angelou is a remarkable renaissance woman who is hailed as one of the great voices of contemporary literature. As a poet, educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil-rights activist, producer and director, she continues to travel the world, spreading her legendary wisdom. Within the rhythm of her poetry and elegance of her prose lies her unique power to help readers of every background span the lines of race. Angelou captivates audiences through the vigor and sheer beauty of her words and lyrics.

James P. Comer, M.D., M.P.H., the Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine's Child Study Center, is recognized internationally for his efforts in supporting the healthy development of young people. A prolific writer, Comer has authored nine books, and written more than 400 articles on children's health and development and race relations. Through his visionary approach to public education, his profound influence on the lives of thousands of disadvantaged children is unparalleled.

William Clyde Friday is President Emeritus of The University of North Carolina System. Named acting president of the consolidated university system in 1956, he became president later that year and worked diligently in desegregate North Carolina's traditionally White universities, while enhancing the historically Black colleges and universities. During this racially-charged time, Friday's stance was unpopular and sparked much criticism. However, his balanced and sensitive approach helped to improve the educational and cultural environments in all schools. …

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