The Now Black Woman Award is the highest and most prestigious honor given to a Drifter. The award is presented during the Annual Drifters National Convention. The Now Black Woman Award is based on a concept initially created by the Norfolk Chapter to typify the versatility, courage and strength of a special kind of woman. In 1972, on a recommendation from the New York Chapter, the Now Black Woman Award was officially adopted by The Drifters, Incorporated as a national award. The Now Black Woman is nominated by her chapter for achievements and service in the following categories:

  1. local chapter and community activities
  2. other national affiliations
  3. professional affiliations
  4. personal hobbies and interests
 An outside panel of judges, not affiliated with the Drifters organization, makes the final selection. During the award ceremony, a plaque and a 14K gold charm having the image of Queen Nefertiti, the symbol for the Now Black Woman Award, is bestowed on the recipient.
Artwork by Sven Geruschkat
Artwork by Sven Geruschkat

Now Black Women Recipients

Year Honoree Chapter
1972 Theresa Fambro Hooks Chicago
1973 Beverly Sheppard Chicago
1974 E. Terrian Givens Detroit
1975 Annie M. Buchanan St. Louis
1976 Geneva Hawkins Louisville
1977 Miriam Gilbert-Young    New York
1978 Naomi Dillard     Greater Kansas City
1979 Linda Bragg     Greensboro
1980 Thyra Bonds    St. Louis
1981 Linda McDougle     Greensboro
1982 Carmelina Mills    New York
1983 Ada Peeples-Puryear   Tallahassee
1984 Patricia Jones-Jackson      Richmond
1985  Betty Taliaferro     Greater Kansas City
1986 Willie Mae Beamon    Portsmouth
1987 Josephine Harvey     St. Louis
1988 Shirley Williams    Ocean 
1989 Esther Page-Hill     Charlotte
1990 Thelma Gorham     Tallahassee
1991 Frances Sims      Petersburg
1992 Merlyn Morrissette      Chicago
1993  Sylvia Thomas      Ocean 
1994 Marlene Randall     Portsmouth
1995 Eloise Hillard     Raleigh
1996 Yvonne Johnson Greensboro
1997 Doretha M. Gilbert St. Louis
1998 Helen W. Scott Ocean
1999 Arlene Anderson Petersburg
2000 Wilhelmenia Smith Portsmouth
2001 Linda Curtis Edwards Cleveland
2002 Jo Ann Jolly-Blanks Los Angeles 
2003 Dorothy Small Greater Westchester 
2004 Ruby J. Thomas Decatur/ DeKalb
2005 Yvonne Lynette Russell Ocean
2006 Barbara A. Harris  Atlanta
2007 Norma Blackburn Singleton Cleveland
2008 Toni Driskell Atlanta 
2009 Bettye Young-Stewart Greensboro
2010 Beverly Pegues-Morgan Los Angeles
2011 Agnes Hassell Petersburg
2012 Irene Eskridge South Bend
2013 Judith A. W. Thomas Southeastern Pennsylvania 
2014 Tracy Munford Montclair
2015 Lula Hicks Mitchellville
2016 Lisa Johnson-Tonkins Greensboro
2017 Dianne Bostic Robinson Detroit
2018 Deborah R. Pryor Los Angeles
2019 Sheryl Barnes Metropolitan Altanta