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A. Philip Randolph “Gentle Warrior Awards” Gala marks museum’s 29th anniversary

Illinois House Speaker Emanuel Chris Welch and Civil Rights Icon Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. among honorees

The National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum (NAPRPPM) will mark its 29th anniversary by hosting the “Gentle Warrior Awards” Black Tie Gala Fundraiser on Saturday, February 24, 2024, from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. The event will take place at the Wintrust’s Grand Banking Hall, 231 S. LaSalle in Chicago. Returning as celebrity emcee is ABC 7 Chicago personality Hosea Sanders.

“As the only museum of its kind in the world, part of our mission is to ensure that we remain labor strong,” said museum’s founder Dr. Lyn Hughes. “There are critical layers to our narrative that ultimately focus on the efforts and sacrifices made by African Americans in the U.S. labor movement and Civil Rights. We proudly enter our 29th year of recognizing these phenomenal individuals while continuing to educate the masses on how their contributions positively impact future generations.”

The museum is the only one in the world that bears the name A. Philip Randolph, founder of the first Black labor union in the nation — The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP). The Porter’s union was the first Black union to be chartered under the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the first Black union to win a collective bargaining agreement with a major U.S. corporation — the powerful Pullman company.

Randolph’s unwavering courage, sacrifice and intuitive leadership opened doors for Blacks in organized labor and enabled the Porters to create the foundation for the Black middle class. As one of America’s foremost labor and civil rights leaders, Randolph became known as the “Gentle Warrior.”

The Gentle Warrior Award is presented to individuals who exhibit the similar commitment, focus, and tenacity that Randolph displayed throughout his career.

This year’s Gentle Warrior Awardees are Emanuel Chris Welch, Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives and Civil Rights activist and icon Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr.

“I could go on and on about the contributions and accomplishments of these individuals but I would rather we showcase them in grand fashion during the gala,” added Hughes.

The evening also includes the recognition of Change Agents. This award is presented to those who have not only invoked positive change through action in organized labor but have required it of others throughout the communities they serve.

This year’s Change Agent Awardees are Gary Perinar, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Mid-America Carpenters Regional Council, and Leo Esparza, Business Manager Local One, Laborers International Union of North America Local 118, Corliss King, Second Vice-President of Transport Workers Union 556; Nataki Rhodes, National Lead Organizer for One Fair Wage.

As one of the most highly anticipated labor events, the Gentle Warrior Awards Black-Tie Gala Fundraiser is always attended by a diverse roster of labor union leadership, Chicago’s “Who’s Who” and an impressive list of museum supporters. In addition to the award presentations, the posh affair features a red carpet, live entertainment and a savory menu filled with culinary delights and desserts.

Funds generated by the awards gala will support the museum’s expansion project which will include the creation of Randolph’s Way, the first Black Labor Tourism district in America. Officials broke ground on the project on Labor Day Weekend.

Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information visit,

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