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Dailey named 2021 Cora Tucker Award recipient

South Boston News
Arlene Dailey, holding plaque, is the 2021 recipient of the Cora Tucker Award, presented by county NAACP Chapter 7074. From left, Detra Carr, Ebony Guy, Dailey, Kevin Chandler, NAACP Chapter President Barbara Coleman Brown and Halifax County Sheriff Fred Clark.
SoVaNow.com / January 11, 2021


Arlene Dailey, one of the founding members of the L.E. Coleman African American Museum and a longtime volunteer with the Salvation Army, has been named the 2021 winner of the Cora Tucker Award.

Named after the late Halifax County civil rights activist, the Cora Tucker Award is given each year by NAACP Chapter 7074 of Halifax County-South Boston to recipients who advance Tucker’s life work of promoting equality, justice and racial progress.

In presenting the honor, local NAACP President Barbara Coleman Brown praised Dailey as a person who “is totally committed to family, church and racial justice. She does not sit on the sideline and hope good things happen.”

Brown described the award recipient as the refinement of grace and charm, adding that as a longstanding community leader, Dailey also embodies dependability.

Dailey, who attended the awards program at the TJM Community Center in Cluster Springs thinking she would be a participant, was clearly taken aback to receive the Cora Tucker Award. “This is a complete surprise to her,” said Brown in revealing the winner.

“This is unbelievable and I thank you for feeling I am worthy of this award,” said Dailey. “I had no idea. This is a complete surprise.”

The ceremony took place following the cancellation of the annual Jubilee Day program in Halifax to celebrate the anniversary of the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. With COVID-19 restrictions standing in the way of the Jan. 1 Jubilee Day program, conducted each year at Banister Hill Baptist Church, the presentation of the Cora Tucker Award was pushed off to the much-smaller program Saturday at the TJM Center.

Hazel Boyd, a close friend, was on hand to see Dailey receive the recognition.

“You have been my best friend for the past 50 years, we hit it off the first time we met. When we laugh, it’s has that real energy you can feel between us. I love you, I cherish our friendship, you are a blessing in my life,” said Boyd.

“I appreciate everything you do for the community, you are a true friend, and a fine lady of many hats,” said Sheriff Fred Clark, who also took part in the awards presentation.

Another of the speakers was Ebony Guy of Danville, granddaughter of Cora Tucker. Family members of the late activist “do not have any say in who gets the award,” Guy noted, “but I got giddy in my heart when I heard it was you.”

“You are true to form and do whatever needs to be done,” said Guy, recalling her work with the honoree on the Obama campaign.

Dailey was born in Charlotte County, the daughter of Dudley and Carrie High, and the youngest of 10 siblings. She graduated from Central High School, an all-Black school at that time of racial segregation. She has one son, Andy Dailey, and is a member of Shiloh Baptist Church where she is a member of the Gospel Chorus and serves as an officer of the missionary ministry.

Before her retirement, Dailey was employed for 31 years at Westinghouse, now ABB. She has volunteered for the Salvation Army for 20 years and has served as treasurer of the local chapter for 10 years. She also served as treasurer for the election campaign of Halifax County Sheriff Fred Clark.

Dailey is a founding member of the L.E. Coleman African American Museum and serves as its treasurer, and she also is a member of One Community, a multiracial group of Halifax County citizens who work to improve race relations locally.

In presenting the award, NAACP leaders noted Dailey’s many other contributions to community life in Halifax — as a longtime volunteer for the Good Samaritan, as a current officer of Area E-2 of the Baptist General Convention of Virginia, and as a member of the Citizens Registering Citizens Committee and second-term chairperson on the Halifax County Improvement Council.

Dailey is a Silver Life Member of the Halifax/South Boston branch of the NAACP, for which she has held several different offices. She currently serves as the chair of the NAACP Housing and Economic Development Committee.

“It is a true blessing to be a part of this history, it’s been a pleasure working with Mrs. Dailey, especially during her times of leadership at the L. E. Coleman Museum,” said Kevin Chandler, second vice-president of the local NAACP.

In closing, program participants urged members of the community to do their part to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Since the pandemic hit, NAACP members have conducted their meetings via Zoom.

“We need to stop the spread of the virus in our community. We need to wear the mask, wash hands and social distance. We need to encourage others to take the vaccine because we know what COVID-19 can do,” said Detra Carr, vice president of NAACP Chapter 7074.

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