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December 07, 2011

Mayor Vincent C. Gray Mourns the Passing of African-American Public Relations Pioneer Ofield Dukes 

Mayor Vincent C. Gray Mourns the Passing of African-American Public Relations Pioneer Ofield Dukes

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(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray released the following statement TODAY on the passing of Ofield Dukes, often called the “Godfather of Black Public Relations:”

“I am saddened to learn of the passing of Ofield Dukes, one of the most prolific public-relations legends of our time, whose specialized expertise in minority and political affairs positioned him as PR counsel to presidents, congressional leaders, corporate CEOs, civil-rights leaders and students.

His professional influence, wisdom and his sage advice were the hallmarks of his career. His firm, Ofield Dukes and Associates, was among the most successful public-relations firms in the nation. For more than four decades the firm rendered immeasurable services to such organizations as the Congressional Black Caucus, the National Council of Negro Women, the NAACP, Motown Records, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Non-Violence, to name a few. He also orchestrated the 1981 “National March on Washington to Make Martin Luther King’s Birthday a National Holiday.”

A District resident for almost 50 years, Mr. Duke’s debut to the larger PR world was made when he came to Washington in 1964 to serve in the Johnson-Humphrey Administration and then on the staff of Vice President Hubert Humphrey in 1966. Highly acclaimed, Ofield was the first African American to receive the prestigious Gold Anvil Award – the highest individual honor in the public relations field, awarded by the Public Relations Society of America to a practitioner who has made a major contribution to the profession. He also founded the D.C. chapter of the Black Public Relations Society.

Known by many as the ‘Godfather of Black Public Relations,’ Ofield’s greatest legacy is his deep commitment and dedication to helping others, especially students who desired to venture into the field of public relations. As a pioneer in the industry, Ofield opened the door to PR for many minorities and women.

The public relations world has lost a giant. Ofield will long be remembered as a man of great integrity, strength and character. My thoughts and prayers are with his daughter, Roxi Victorian, and her family; his sisters; his fellow PR professionals and all those who knew and loved him.”