Chimamanda, along with six other recipients, received the medal as those “who embody the values of commitment and resolve that are fundamental to the Black experience in America." Other honorees include basketball icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, barrier-breaking actress Laverne Cox, philanthropist Agnes Gund, businessman Raymond J. McGuire, artist Betye Saar and politician Deval Patrick.
After a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Harvard relaunched the initiative to continue celebrating the ideals and values espoused by DuBois, the first Black person to receive a Ph.D. from the institution.
Taking to Instagram, the native of Nigeria shared a clip of her accepting the medal.
“I felt so honoured to be honoured with Harvard University’s DuBois Medal. And in such good company — @betyesaar, @lavernecox, @devalpatrick, Agnes Gund, @rayformayor, and @kareemabduljabbar_33,” her caption read.
“Oh and that last hug! Apologies to the great Mr. Abdul Jabbar for having to bend so low. Imagine how much worse it would have been without my heels,” she continued.
Adichie has earned worldwide recognition as a writer and speaker. She was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2015 and one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders in 2017 by Fortune Magazine.
In 2018, she was awarded the PEN Pinter Prize, which is given annually to a writer of “outstanding literary merit who shows a fierce intellectual determination.” Upon receiving the award, she shared the prize with imprisoned Saudi lawyer and human rights activist Waleed Abulkhair. The same year, she received the Global Hope Coalition’s Thought Leadership Award and the Action Against Hunger Humanitarian Award.
A prolific writer, she's written several novels and works of non-fiction including Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), Americanah (2013), The Thing Around Your Neck (2009), and the book-length essay We Should All Be Feminists (2014).
In total, Adichie has received 16 honorary doctorate degrees from some of the most renowned universities in the world such as Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Edinburgh, Duke University, Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University and the Catholic University of Louvain.