Civil Rights Activist Recognized as Mercy Otis Warren Woman of the Year

BARNSTABLE – Mercy Otis Warren Cape Cod Woman of the Year Dolores Daluz discussed how race has affected her life on Cape Cod and the Civil Rights battle still being fought during her acceptance speech Monday night.

The long-time civil rights activist and founding member of the Zion Union Heritage Museum said a strong first impression while on a Cape vacation in 1950 with her husband Joe made her want to move here.

“Seeing Craigville Beach I asked where is the colored section – and there is no colored section – you mean I can spread my blanket anywhere I want – I was hooked,” Daluz said.

Daluz says the Cape did have a dark side and the Cape Cod NAACP, of which she was a founder and past officer, actively worked to flush out discrimination in all aspects of the community, including the hospital, schools, town hall, housing, police department and employment.

Daluz said there is such a thing as white privilege and it can only be experienced by people of color.

“If we had white skin we would not have been stopped many, many times by state troopers on the highway,” she said. “If we had white skin we wouldn’t have gone to many banks here in town and been turned down.”

Daluz praised the Cape Cod Cooperative Bank and its president Joel Crowell Sr. for taking them in as customers.

“He looked past our skin color and got to know us as any young couple starting out and wanting to own their own home,” she said.

Daluz said work must continue today to make sure there is no backtrack on the civil rights progress previously made.

“Many people died marching for the right to vote only to see today these rights are being slowly taken away,” she said. “As Negros, colored people, blacks and now African Americans, we have always loved this country even when it didn’t love us.”

She also praised the young people continuing the work that is left to be done.

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