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AHERN, INC.
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THE KING CENTER
HBCU NOTABLE / APRIL 2022
HBCU NOTABLE / APRIL 2022

Livingstone College's Elizabeth Duncan Koontz (June 3, 1919 – January 6, 1989) was a national figure in education, civil rights, and the women's movement. She was the first African-American president of the National Education Association and director of the United States Department of Labor Women's Bureau.

The Salisbury Human Relations Council (HRC) now awards the "Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Humanitarian Award" every year in remembrance of Koontz. It is awarded to people or groups who are a part of the Salisbury community and have made great contributions to community relations. Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Elementary School, which opened in 2006 in Salisbury, is named in her honor.

Throughout her career, she pushed for equality of gender and race. In her 1968 acceptance speech for NEA president, she asked educators “to make use of their united power to bring about change... that educators ... men and women ... young and old ... black and white ... stand together.” Koontz aimed to get rid of the phrase "women's work," as that capped the potential of women.

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