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Nominations for Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Humanitarian Awards now being accepted

SALISBURY — The Salisbury Human Relations Council is now accepting nominations for community members who have the same heart for improving human relations that Elizabeth Duncan Koontz did.

The annual Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Humanitarian Awards honor those from Salisbury and Rowan County who have contributed to the improvement of human relations in the areas of education, women’s rights and community service.

Koontz taught mentally handicapped children for years before becoming the first African-American to be named president of the National Education Association in 1968.

Less than a year later, Koontz left that position to become director of the Women’s Bureau in the Labor Department, making her the top-ranking woman in the Nixon administration.

Koontz later became the North Carolina assistant state superintendent of public instruction and oversaw teacher certification and training for 10 years.

Koontz made strides for both women and African-Americans. She made headlines when she became the head of the Women’s Bureau and encouraged women to expand their career options. She also helped form the N.C. Association of Educators, an organization that brought black and white teachers together to pursue common goals.

Koontz worked to improve human relations throughout her life, and the award in her name honors those who have done the same.

The deadline for nominations is Jan. 12, 2017. To make a nomination online, visit www.salisburync.gov/EDKnomination.

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