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Nas, Muhammad Ali Among Recipients of the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal

by Natalie Johnson /

Since 2000, Harvard University's Hutchins Center has presented the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal, the highest honor in the field of African and African American Studies, to those who've enhanced and contributed "to African-American culture and the life of the mind."

On Wednesday, the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research honored Muhammad Ali, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder; rapper Nasir "Nas" Jones; Marian Wright Edelman, The Children’s Defense Fund president and founder; Mellody Hobson, Ariel Investments president; artist Carrie Mae Weems, and Charlayne Hunter-Gault, the first black woman to enroll at the University of Georgia.

Jones, who developed the Nasir Jones Hip Hop Fellowship at Harvard in 2013, noted on his Instagram account that this was a "historic night for the rap game," being the first time someone from Hip Hop has been recognized with this award.

The W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute at the Hutchins Center was established in 1975 in honor of the author-historian who was the first African-American to earn a doctorate degree from Harvard University in 1890.