The National Black Public Relations Society, Washington D.C. Chapter will hold the inaugural Ofield Dukes Excellence in Public Relations Awards, Saturday, Oct. 21, at the J.W. Marriott Hotel, Washington, D.C. from 6:00 to 9:00 pm

The Ofield Dukes Excellence in Public Relations Awards and Scholarship Reception was created to celebrate the life and legacy of public relations trailblazer Ofield Dukes, in center in photo. The ceremony will also highlight the achievements of D.C.-area practitioners, thought leaders and academics in the public relations and communications field. Former colleagues, students, and friends will be given the opportunity to reconnect and reflect on the many ways Dukes positively affected their lives and educated the younger generation on his contributions and value as they pursue a career in an industry not particularly designed for them to succeed

According to program organizers, the evening will include an exclusive look at Dukes autobiography, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, networking and an opportunity to meet with metro D.C. area elites.

According to his obituary in The Washington Post,  Dukes was “a prominent Washington public relations executive who represented major civil rights figures and entertainers and who helped focus support for a national holiday honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., died Dec. 7 at a hospital in Detroit. He was 79.”

His Post obituary also stated that “after working in the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson, Mr. Dukes opened his public relations agency, Ofield Dukes & Associates, in 1969. His first client was Motown Records.

“Capitalizing on his political connections and Washington’s stature as a crossroads of black leaders, Mr. Dukes soon became one of the country’s leading African American public relations professionals.

“He consulted with every Democratic presidential candidate since 1968, organized the first dinner of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1972, and counted Coretta Scott King, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), “Roots” author Alex Haley and boxing promoter Don King among his clients. Mr. Dukes was among the first African American members of the Democratic National Committee’s finance committee.”

(In 2006 photo above, Dukes receives an award in appreciation for his years of service to the Black Press of America.)

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