The State of North Carolina seeks nominations for the 2022 John R. Larkins Award, which recognizes a state employee who exemplifies the commitment of the late human services leader’s work to bring equality and justice in the workplace and his dedication to improving local communities through volunteerism and community service. As North Carolina continues to encourage vaccination and safe behaviors to minimize the risks associated with COVID-19, nominations of state employees who are directly engaged in responding to the pandemic are especially encouraged.
Nominations are due by Monday, Dec. 27, through this online portal. Include a detailed description of how the nominee has improved human and race relations in the workplace, and how the nominee has contributed to local communities through volunteerism and community service.
The honoree is selected by a panel of state employees and will be announced on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022 as part of the annual North Carolina State Employees’ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Observance Program. The program will begin at 12 noon at First Baptist Church,101 S. Wilmington St., Raleigh, and will also be streamed online. Further details about the event including speakers will be available soon.
Dr. Larkins was born Dec. 24, 1913 in Wilmington. Under the National Youth Administration Program, he attended Shaw University. He later earned his M.A. at Atlanta University’s School of Social Work and his Doctorate at Columbia University’s School of Social Work.
After early jobs paving roads and working in the garment industry in New York City, Dr. Larkins returned to North Carolina to serve as a welfare worker in Warren County. In 1942, he became a consultant for the N.C. Department of Public Welfare (now the Department of Health and Human Services); in 1962, he became the Department Coordinator. Dr. Larkins went on to serve as the Associate Director of the State Probation Commission from 1963 to 1973; as the Director of Youth Development at the Department of Corrections in 1973-74; and as Special Assistant to the Governor on Minority Affairs from 1977 until his death in 1980.
Dr. Larkins’ contributions extended beyond the workplace. He authored a collection of articles that explore race, community, leadership, and sociology. He taught part-time at St. Augustine’s College and Shaw University and served in several sociological associations. Throughout his life and career, Dr. Larkins received numerous honors for his efforts to make our state and nation stronger through better human and race relations. His legacy in honored through annual presentation of the John R. Larkins Award.
Photo: John R. Larkins (left), joined education advocate and scholar Hugh V. Brown (right) to present a copy of Brown's new book, " A History of the Education of Negroes in North Carolina," to Governor Terry Sanford in 1961. (State Archives)
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