If black girl magic rests in today’s youth, legendary actress Pam Grier holds the key for powerful black women. Grier, among a batch of other talented souls, will receive Harvard University’s 2016 W.E.B. Du Bois medal.
The Seattle Times reports Grier, 67, will take part in the ceremony with fellow honorees Lana “MC Lyte” Moorer, opera soprano Jessye Norman, The Wire creator David Simon, and the 1966 Texas Western Miners men’s basketball team, the first all-black starting lineup to win a NCAA national championship. Presented by the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, the medals honor African-Americans who have made a cultural impact in history.
Grier’s legacy was cemented in the 70’s where she was the star of several blaxploitation actions films like The Big Bird Cage (1972), Coffy (1973), Foxy Brown (1974) and Sheba Baby (1975). Grier is also credited for being the first female action star in movie history. The actress continued her work in prolific characters like Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown (1997) and The L Word’s Kate “Kit” Porter (2004-2009).
In addition to her charitable efforts, Grier was also the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Langston University.
Past honorees include Nas, Shonda Rhimes, former attorney general Eric Holder, late Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe and the late Muhammad Ali.
The ceremony will take place Oct. 6 at Hutchins Center for African & African American Research.