Tennessee Human Rights Commission Names Rosetta Miller Perry as the 2019 Civil Rights Legacy Award Recipient

Tuesday, July 09, 2019 | 10:00am

NASHVILLE, TN - The Tennessee Human Rights Commission (THRC) will honor civil rights activist and Tennessee Tribune founder and publisher, Rosetta Miller Perry with the 2019 Jocelyn D. Wurzburg Civil Rights Legacy Award.  The award presentation will take place on Friday, July 19, 2019 at 11:30 a.m. in the Old Supreme Court Chambers at the Tennessee State Capitol.
The Jocelyn D. Wurzburg Civil Rights Legacy Award is given to individuals who have demonstrated long term advocacy to human rights. Rosetta Miller Perry is greatly dedicated to inclusion, equity, equality, access and diversity. As founder of the Tennessee Tribune she has devoted more than 26 years to battling on behalf of the poor, minorities and those who’ve been overlooked or underserved. She has aided the causes of civil rights through journalism, advocacy, and participation in multiple philanthropic and social organizations, and through a career dedicated to social justice and to empowerment of all citizens. She has written many editorials and published extensive articles that document both the progress made in this community regarding human rights, and the things that still needs to be done.

She worked closely with Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She was brought into the United States Civil Rights Commission (USCRC) as a clerk typist, then as a field representative assigned to cover the Memphis Garbage Strike in 1968. Rosetta worked for the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission as the Nashville Area Director. In 1992, she founded the Tennessee Tribune to focus on issues such as health, education, and voter registration.

"Rosetta is well deserving of this award, she has advocated for human rights and equality for many years, the Board of Commissioners selected Rosetta Miller Perry because of her dedication and leadership in cultivating more inclusive and equitable communities" said Commissioner Bill Martin.

This award is named in honor of Jocelyn D. Wurzburg of Memphis who has a long history of volunteer civil rights accomplishments advocating for equity, equality and non-discrimination. She served on the Tennessee Human Rights Board of Commissioners on two occasions— in 1971 and again in 2007. During that time she began extensive work and research to write the model for the Tennessee Human Rights Act which she continued to promote after her first term. 

In 1978, Jocelyn's actions were responsible for transforming the Tennessee Human Rights Commission from an advisory to an enforcement organization. The very first Wurzburg Award was presented to Jocelyn for her continued efforts in civil rights and women's rights. “The Jocelyn D. Wurzburg Civil Rights Legacy Award is awarded to individuals who demonstrate commitment, long term dedication and advocacy to human rights, Rosetta Miller Perry’s work embodies the principles of inclusion, equity, equality, access and diversity.”  “The Tennessee Human Rights Commission Board of Commissioners is honored to have Rosetta Miller Perry as this year’s recipient” said Beverly Watts, THRC executive director. 

THRC is an independent state agency, the Commission is responsible for enforcing the Tennessee Human Rights Act and the Tennessee Disability Act which prohibits discrimination based on race, creed, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age (40 and over in employment), familial status (housing only) and retaliation in employment, housing and public accommodations. To file a complaint of discrimination or to receive additional information, please call 1-800-251-3589 or visit www.tn.gov/humanrights.

The mission of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission is safeguarding individuals from discrimination through education and enforcement.