Peace Corps Honors Outstanding African American Community Leaders; Dr. Julius Nimmons, President of U.D.C., Receives Director's Award
February 25, 2000WASHINGTON, D.C., February 25, 2000—Twelve leaders and activists from around the country, all former Peace Corps volunteers, were honored with the Franklin H. Williams Award in a ceremony Thursday night at Peace Corps' headquarters.
Dr. Julius Nimmons, president of the University of the District of Columbia and a former Peace Corps volunteer, received special recognition for his work in stabilizing the university in less than two years.
"In naming this award for Franklin Williams, the Peace Corps pays tribute to his remarkable legacy and recognizes the exemplary community work done by these 12 distinguished individuals, who carry on his spirit of service," Peace Corps Director Mark Schneider said.
Williams, a foreign and domestic public servant until his death in 1990, was a Peace Corps regional director for Africa and U.S. Ambassador to Ghana. He played a large role in helping Sargent Shriver, the first Peace Corps Director, to promote the agency and its programs to the world.
"Franklin Williams would have been proud of all of you tonight," said Percy C. Wilson, a former Peace Corps country director in Sierra Leone and currently the director of external affairs for the Coca-Cola Africa group. "All of you serve as mentors and role models for others. You are solid leaders and solid citizens in your communities."
Others who spoke at the ceremony included Sam Afrifa-Kyei, the minister of consular affairs for the Embassy of Ghana and Williams' college roommate. Williams' widow, Shirley, sent written greetings, as did Shriver.
Today, more than 200 African Americans are serving as Peace Corps volunteers in 77 countries around the world. Throughout the agency's history, thousands of African American volunteers have promoted grassroots development and cross-cultural understanding between Americans and people of developing nations. Since 1961, more than 155,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps, serving in 134 nations.
Read about the award recipients