Black History Month is more than just acknowledgement in a newspaper or a special program at your children's school. It's an opportunity to reflect on how far black people in the United States have come in their struggle for justice and equal rights, while not forgetting the scores of women and men whose lives have been destroyed by our biased judicial system. The mass criminalization of millions of men and women, mostly people of color who are imprisoned for small infractions, creates a group of second-class citizens who are unable to rebuild a life for themselves even after serving their time.
During Black History Month, we will be profiling past and present leaders in the intersecting movements to protect and expand the rights of African Americans and working families. We'll highlight both important leaders of the past and those who are continuing the legacy of those strong leaders who laid the foundation for the present. Today, we take a look at A. Philip Randolph.
Today kicks off the AFL-CIO’s 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference in Atlanta, where hundreds of union and civil rights activists will honor King’s life and legacy and the accomplishments of the civil rights movement and renew the commitment to carry on King’s fight for equality and justice. You can follow the action on Twitter @aflcio with the hashtag #1uMLK, and if you are attending the conference and want updates on speakers, panels and activities, text KING to 235246.
Last week, I had the great honor to receive the Benjamin L. Hooks “Keeper of the Flame” Award from the Labor Committee of the NAACP’s Board of Directors. Both the new president, Cornell Brooks, and Lorraine Miller, who served as interim president before him, were present. I felt humbled by the honor.
As our nation marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, we recognize the long-standing relationship between labor and the civil rights movement in our efforts to fight for economic justice. Throughout history, labor unions have joined with the civil rights movement in fighting for equality for all. Here are seven key moments that helped forever intertwine the cause of civil rights with the labor movement.
Fifty years ago this week, the U.S. Senate passed the version of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that would be passed by the House and signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The bill faced a filibuster of 14 hours and 13 minutes by the late Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia. Between the passage by the Senate and debate by the House, three young civil rights workers—Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Earl Chaney—disappeared into the night on June 21, 1964, driving in the rural area near Philadelphia, Miss. Schwerner, Goodman and Chaney were later found dead, having been murdered for trying to register African American voters in Mississippi.
How many times have you heard some labor hater claim that unions only care about their own members? The claims are baloney, of course. Unions advocate for more than just men and women who pack union cards.