The Katie Hall Educational Foundation, Inc. earlier this week announced the selection of Editor and Publisher Dorothy R. Leavell as the recipient of the 2019 Katie Hall Public Service Award to be presented on Saturday, April 6th, at the Genesis Convention Center in downtown Gary.
Leavell has served at the helm of both the Chicago Crusader and the Gary Crusader newspapers for over 50 years as editor and publisher.
In June 2017, Leavell was elected Chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), a Black newspaper trade organization.
She previously served as president of NNPA, and of the NNPA Foundation, from June 1995 to 1999, simultaneously.
The Association has a combined readership of more than 15 million readers.
During her tenure, Leavell increased the visibility and international stature of the organization. She led a controversial 20-member delegation to Nigeria in the late 1990s, to investigate the Nigerian political crisis.
As a media advocate, she was also a staunch and visible supporter for the controversial and delayed confirmation of Alexis Herman as U.S. Secretary of Labor. In 1997, she attended the May 9 swearing in ceremony.
A member of the NNPA for more than 49 years, Leavell has served in other capacities, including assistant secretary, member of the board of directors, and as treasurer, a post she held for 11 years.
She has been featured in print articles and on television programs, discussing such topics as women in business; the influence of the Black Press; cultural diversity and its impact on business; and human and civil rights issues.
In June 2006, Leavell was elected Chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation.
The Foundation is a separate entity of NNPA and oversees the philanthropic arm of the association, as well as the NNPA News Service, responsible for providing news articles and columns to the membership of NNPA; maintaining the NNPA Black Press Archives, housed at Howard University in Washington, D.C.; as well as administering internships, scholarships and grants to college students throughout the United States.
She termed out as Chairman in June 2011. But her service to NNPA did not end there. She was elected as Region 3 board member during the June 2011 convention. Also, during that convention she was named “Publisher of the Year” at the Merit Awards gala.
A lifelong supporter of the arts, Leavell donated a personal art collection of 150 commissioned pieces, valued at more than $50,000 to the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago.
Leavell is also a founding member of “Heroes in the Hood,” a 25-year-old community service program celebrating young people who perform volunteer service and sometimes, heroic deeds, yet go unrecognized.
In 2013, she served as Chairman of the National Black Chamber of Commerce.
Leavell has been honored and recognized often for her philanthropic and civic contributions.
The Chicago Urban League presented Leavell with its Lester H. McKeever, Jr. Individual Service Award at the Golden Fellowship Gala in November 2018.
She was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame in August 2016.
A State of Illinois Proclamation from Governor Pat Quinn was presented to Leavell, proclaiming October 21, 2014 as Dorothy Leavell Day in Illinois.
Also in 2014 she was appointed as board member of the National Civil Rights Hall of Fame.
Leavell was the Grand Ye Ye at the 24th Annual African Festival of the Arts Chicago, Africa International House, Inc. in 2013.
Over the years she has been honored as NNPA’s Publisher of the Year (1989); the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago; State of Indiana’s “Attorney General for a Day; (June 9, 2000); Winnie Mandela Endurance with Dignity Award; Nation of Islam Distinguished Service Award; Operation PUSH Family Affair Award;
She has also been recognized by the National Association of Black Media Women; received the Fourth District Community Improvement Association Award in Gary; Dollars & Sense Magazine Award for Excellence in Business; and the Mary McLeod Bethune Award.
Leavell is a recipient of the Humanitarian Award from the Council on African Affairs; the Publishing Award from the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club, and an awardee honored for publishing excellence and community service by Philip Morris Companies Inc.
A native of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Leavell received her early formal education in the public schools of Pine Bluff, where she graduated as valedictorian of her class. She continued her education at Roosevelt University in Chicago.
Leavell joins the ranks of past Katie Hall Public Service Award recipients such as the Honorable Richard G. Hatcher, the first African-American elected as Mayor of the City of Gary, and the first African-American elected as Mayor in the State of Indiana.
Additional honorees slated for the April 6 luncheon are Steve Sanders, anchor, WGN-TV, Channel 9, Chicago, Illinois, who will receive the Foundation’s Chairman’s Award, and Naomi Millender, former President of the Gary Historical and Cultural Society, Inc. and former Chairman of the Gary Historic Preservation Commission, will be awarded posthumously the Foundation’s Merit of Distinction Award.
Also, during the luncheon festivities, Casey E. Pfeiffer, Director of the Indiana Historical Bureau, Indianapolis, Indiana will officially dedicate the “U.S. Representative Katie Hall and Passage of the Dr. MLK, Jr. National Holiday Law” Historic Marker, to be permanently placed at 1927 Madison Street, Gary, Indiana.
The Katie Hall Public Service Awards Luncheon will begin at 11 a.m. on April 6, at the Genesis Convention Center.
For more information, contact the [email protected] or the Law Office of Attorney John Henry Hall,Ed.D.,LL.M.