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Two receive 'Spirit of King' awards

| Monday, Jan. 15, 2001, 12:00 p.m.

An obstetrician and businessman who won a legal battle to live in a neighborhood where he wasn't welcome and a journalist who became the first female editor-in-chief of a nationally circulated newspaper were winners of the 2001 'Spirit of King' award.

The award in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was given posthumously to Dr. Oswald Jerry Nickens and Hazel Garland.

Family members received the awards at a small ceremony last week at the Kingsley Association in East Liberty, which along with the Port Authority of Allegheny County and the Pittsburgh Pirates sponsors the award.

Nickens, who died in 1995 at the age of 73, was a Pittsburgh native who became the first black physician to join the staff at Magee-Womens Hospital in Oakland and the Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Bloomfield.

He also won a 1963 case in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas allowing him and his wife to live in Stanton Heights, where he said developer Francis Totten refused to sell him land because he 'did not fit in.'

Garland was born Jan. 28, 1913, in Terre Haute, Ind., and moved to western Pennsylvania in the 1920s. In 1943, she was a homemaker attending clubs at a YWCA when she volunteered to give details of a meeting to the Pittsburgh Courier.

Soon she was writing a weekly column and worked her way up through the editorial ranks, becoming editor-in-chief in 1972 and winning national newspaper honors. She worked for the Courier until her death in 1988.

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