PLBC announces Crystal Bird Fauset Leadership honorees

HARRISBURG, March 14 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, announced the awardees of the PLBC Crystal Bird Fauset Leadership Award, which is now an annual recognition event for the PLBC during Women’s History Month.

Honorees will be awarded in a virtual ceremony at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 23. The ceremony can be viewed live at

The award is named in honor of former state Rep. Crystal Bird Fauset, who was a Democrat elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1938 and represented Philadelphia’s 18th Legislative District. She was the first Black woman elected in any state legislature.

“For so long, the accomplishments of Black women have been ignored or minimized,” Bullock said. “While we celebrate these women all year long, we wanted to highlight extraordinary Black women in Women’s History Month and all that they do here in the commonwealth. It’s important for everyone – especially little Black girls and boys – to see someone who looks like them making big impacts in Pennsylvania and in leadership roles. These women are leaders we look to everyday - in both their professional and personal lives. We are so proud of each of them and are grateful for their service to this commonwealth.”

The honorees this year are former state House member from Pittsburgh and current U.S. Rep. Summer Lee; former Pennsylvania Secretary of State Leigh Chapman; and Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Carolyn H. Nichols.

Lee represents the 12th Congressional District in Pennsylvania. She is the first Black woman to represent southwestern Pennsylvania in the state legislature and the first black woman from Pennsylvania to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. She is a graduate of Penn State University and Howard University School of Law.  

Chapman began her career as a staff attorney of the Voter Protection Program at Advancement Project. Then she was appointed director of policy of the Pennsylvania Department of State under Gov. Tom Wolf. In 2022, he appointed her secretary of state. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia and received her Juris Doctor from Howard University School of Law.

Nichols holds undergraduate and law degrees from Temple University and an MBA from Eastern University. She was a judge with the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas prior to her selection to Pennsylvania Superior Court. She is currently the only black woman to hold one of the 31 appellate court seats in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus was founded in 1973. The purpose of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus is to serve as an information and advocacy vehicle to advance the interests of African American, Latino and other people of color of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.