What Does Black History Month Mean to You?

Message from A. Philip Randolph Institute President 
Clayola Brown  
on Black History Month

On this, the first day of Black History Month, let us begin by introducing to some and reminding others of the Black American labor activists who have made many sacrifices in the struggle for labor and civil rights—two movements with one shared goal. Let’s begin with this quote by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as we lift our brother, William “Bill” Lucy (AFSCME), Dr. King's friend and fellow fighter for justice:

“This unity of purpose is not a historical coincidence. Negroes are almost entirely a working people. There are pitifully few Negro millionaires and few Negro employers. Our needs are identical with labor's needs...decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old age security, health and welfare measures, conditions in which families can grow, have education for their children and respect in the community. 

“That is why Negroes support labor's demands and fight laws which curb labor. That is why the labor-hater and labor-baiter is virtually always a twin-headed creature spewing anti-Negro epithets from one mouth and anti-labor propaganda from the other mouth.”

Many of you know Bill Lucy, but we invite you to really get to know his legacy. Take the time to view the video, “At the River I Stand” and learn more about him, an amazing Black American labor activist and a true labor leader!

February does not have enough days to bring all of our warriors forward, so we invite each of you to please add others to the recognition roster. You are also invited to submit a paragraph that speaks to what Black History Month means to you by emailing us at peoplepower@aflcio.org.

Happy Black History Month!