Washington Public Relations Pioneer Dies

Ofield Dukes counseled presidents and elected officials

Wednesday, Dec 7, 2011  |  Updated 8:02 PM EDT
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Washington Public Relations Pioneer Dies

Ofield Dukes & Associates

Ofield Dukes conferring with Catholic Bishop Perry and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at President Lyndon B. Johnson's White House conference on civil rights.

Ofield Dukes, a public relations counselor to presidents and other elected officials, died this morning in his hometown Detroit after a long illness.

Dukes operated the PR firm Ofield Dukes & Associates for more than four decades before returning to Detroit in late September.

The firm was the recipient of several awards and commendations. Duke himself became the first African American to receive the Public Relations Society of America's Gold Anvil in 2001. That's the highest award given in the public relations industry.  Duke also founded the D.C. chapter of the Black Public Relations Society.

Dukes was a consultant to presidential campaigns, members of the Congressional Black Caucus, entertainers, international leaders and organizations. He came to Washington in l964 to accept a position in the Johnson-Humphrey Administration as deputy director of the President’s Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity. A year later, he was appointed to the staff of Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey.

Dukes opened his public relations firm in the National Press Building in 1969.

Dukes encouraged hundreds of African-American students to enter his field and taught public relations at Howard University for 25 years.  He also taught at The American University for eight years.

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