The Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University has listed Chimamanda Adichie among the individuals to receive its prestigious W.E.B Du Bois Medal.


The Hutchins Center supports research on the history and culture of people of African descent and seeks to provide a forum for collaboration and the exchange of ideas.

After a nearly three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, it announced its comeback in a recent publication.

The centre listed Chimamamda among the Africans to receive the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal, which is Harvard’s highest honour in the field of African and African American Studies.


The award recognises impactful contributions to African and African American culture and the life of the mind.

This year’s honourees, apart from Chimamanda, include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a basketball legend and activist.

Others are Laverne Cox, an LGBTQ advocate; Agnes Gund, a philanthropist; Raymond J. McGuire, a business personality; Deval Patrick, former Massachusetts governor; and Betye Saar, pioneering artist and visual storyteller.


The award ceremony will take place at 4 pm on October 6 in Sanders Theatre, Memorial Hall at Harvard.

Speaking after the unveiling of the honourees, Henry Louis Gates Jr., the director of the Hutchins Center, said the medalists have shown “unyielding commitment to pushing the boundaries of representation.”

He said the medalists have, through their work, created “opportunities for advancement and participation for people who have been too often shut out from the great promise of our times.”

Previous recipients of the award include Rita Dove, a poet (2019); Colin Kaepernick, an athlete (2018); Carrie Mae Weems, a contemporary artist; and John Lewis, a civil rights activist and former congressman (2013).


Its honourees have mostly worked as artists, journalists, philanthropists, public servants, scholars, and writers.

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