At this year’s annual North Carolina Advocates for Justice (NCAJ) convention in Wilmington, NC, Janet Ward Black received this year’s Thurgood Marshall Award. This recognition was presented at the opening session of the convention during the Awards Ceremony on Sunday, June 16, 2013.
The professional organization (NCAJ) established the award “to recognize extraordinary and selfless service to the people of North Carolina in keeping with the legacy of Justice Thurgood Marshall.” Although most remembered for his instrumental work during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s, Justice Marshall built a foundation of individual rights for all Americans regardless of gender, age and station in life, including prisoners and the homeless.
The 4,000 member North Carolina Advocates for Justice is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association “dedicated to protecting people’s rights through professional and community legal education, championing individual rights, and protecting the safety of North Carolina’s families — in the workplace, in the home, and in the environment.” Janet Ward Black served as president of the organization (formerly known as the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers) in 2002-2003. She has actively participated in the organization in various leadership capacities as well, including chair of the Political Action Committee from 2004 to 2006.
Janet Ward Black is well known in the community for her selfless contributions to the less fortunate of Greensboro and beyond, even to the far reaches of Africa and China. During her tenure as president of the NC Bar Association, Black instituted the “4ALL” program which provides legal services to low income individuals and families. She also supports outreach organizations around the world, from church building programs in third world countries (International Cooperating Ministries) to feeding school children living in poverty at home in the Guilford County area (The Out of the Garden Project).
In 2010, the North Carolina State Bar presented her with the Distinguished Service Award and Duke Law School recognized her with its Distinguished Alumni Award for Public Service. Partnership Greensboro awarded Black the Athena Award in 2012 for her many community contributions. Earlier this month she also received the North Carolina Bar Association’s 2013 Citizen Lawyer Award.