The Mercy Otis Warren Cape Cod Woman of the Year Selection Committee in partnership with the Barnstable County Commissioners are proud to announce that the winner of the 16th Annual Mercy Otis Warren Cape Cod Woman of the Year Award is DOLORES HOLDEN DALUZ of Hyannis.
ABOUT THE RECIPIENT: Ellen Chahey, who nominated Mrs. Daluz for this Award noted that she was an actor, storyteller, poet, singer and songwriter. She is also a reliable and knowledgeable chronicler of African American and Cape Verdean life and history on Cape Cod having authored a booklet about both communities for for the Town of Barnstable and the United States Bicentennial.
When told that she was this year’s recipient, Mrs. Daluz remarked” Maybe Mercy Otis Warren saw an inkling of what this country could be”. She believes that “black people believed in this country, even if sometimes we were the only ones….all we want is to be treated equally” . Dolores Daluz has quietly striven to better opportunities for everyone throughout her life.
Dolores, who proudly states her age as 82 years old, is a founding member of the Zion Union Heritage Museum, a founding member and past officer of the Cape Cod NAACP, the organizer of the immensely popular and successful annually held Sepia Fashion Show which earns thousands for scholarships, an early supporter of the Council of Churches and organizer of the Baby Center, and a board member of the Hyannis Library.
Mrs. Daluz, then Dolores Holden, grew up in Dover Delaware near the then all black college Delaware State College (now University of Delaware). Her mother was an assistant at the college and her father was an enterprising truck driver who saw an opportunity to create housing for the black professors and staff at the State College. This was an era of segregation so his achievement is all the more remarkable. He purchased land and built houses for black professionals with the help of the Amish community who lived nearby. One of Mrs. Daluz’s sisters still lives in one of these homes.
Mrs. Daluz’s soon to be husband Joe was a student from New England on a full football scholarship at the State College. He drove a bus part time and delivered children to Booker T. Washington High School which was next door to Mrs. Daluz’s childhood house. They eventually married and were marred for 64 years at the time of his death last fall.
The Daluzes moved in with Joe’s father in Osterville on Cape Cod when they were unable to find a place to live elsewhere in segregated New England. As a veteran, Joe was able to qualify for a VA loan and they moved into their first home on General Patton Way. They raised 3 boys and 3 girls.
Dolores Daluz immediately became associated with the NAACP and Fair Housing issues, becoming friends with Judy Barnet, Jane Vonnegut, Eugenia Fortes and Margaret Mosley. (She says:
“We stood on their shoulders. They were our anchors”)
Dolores Daluz is a deeply spiritual person, who literally dreams in song, loves to sing and aspires to publish her composed music. Ellen Chahey marveled at Mrs. Daluz’s optimistic attitude. She is proud and positive about the role that people of color play in American history and life. Ms. Chahey remarked : ” Dolores Daluz is a living piece of American history. She had lived through and seen the worst of it, but still she can say : ‘This is a wonderful country. Whatever you want to do, you can do if you put your mind to it'”.
The Mercy Otis Warren Selection Committee proudly and unanimously chose Dolores Holden Daluz as this year’s Mercy Otis Warren Cape Cod Woman of the Year.