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Safiya U. Noble Honored With North Carolina A&T’s Human Rights Medal

By Staff

Scholar of internet studies recognized for groundbreaking work in algorithmic discrimination.

UCLA Associate Professor of Information Studies Safiya U. Noble has been awarded the 2023 Human Rights Medal by North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Along with co-recipient Chance D. Lynch, Esq., Noble was honored with the award during the 63rd Annual A&T Four Sit-in celebration on Feb. 1, commemorating the courageous, non-violent acts of the A&T Four. She accepted the award with a virtual presentation. 

Noble is an internet studies scholar and professor of Gender Studies and African American Studies at UCLA, where she serves as the interim director of the UCLA DataX Initiative and is the founder and director of the UCLA Center on Race and Digital Justice. She is the author of a best-selling book on racist and sexist algorithmic bias in commercial search engines titled “Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism.” Professor Noble was recognized as a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, also known as the “Genius Award,” in 2021 for her groundbreaking work on algorithmic discrimination.

In 2022, Noble was recognized as the inaugural NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award recipient. She is a board member of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, serving those vulnerable to online harassment, and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the nation’s oldest Black think tank. Her academic research focuses on the internet and its impact on society. Noble's work is both sociological and interdisciplinary, marking the ways that digital media intersects with issues of race, gender, culture, power and technology.

The Human Rights Medal is given annually by N.C. A&T to recognize individuals whose work and service are rooted in civil rights and have endeavored to correct social injustice significantly contributing to the betterment of the world. Jibreel Khazan (formerly known as Ezell Blair Jr.), Gen. Joseph McNeil and the late Franklin McCain and late David Richmond were four Black youths who sat down at a local Woolworth all-white lunch counter, igniting the national sit-in movement. The Human Rights Medal is inspired by their courageous actions. 

Previous recipients include the late civil rights leader and activist U.S. Rep. John Lewis; community leaders Rev. Nelson and Joyce Johnson; long-time Guilford County resident Zaki Khalifan; two-time A&T alumna U.S. Rep. Alma Adams; North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls and others.