Recently the National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum announced the three honorees of the prestigious A. Philip Randolph Gentle Warrior Awards, given to honor both local and national figures who have been key agents of change.
“Randolph founder of The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) changed the narrative for Black Americans in organized labor, and in so doing changed the environment for the better in labor for everyone,” said museum founder Dr. Lyn Hughes. “Under Randolph’s leadership with his skillful organizing of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, he also helped create the Black middle class.
Randolph went on to orchestrate the Civil Rights movement with the effort that began in 1941. He successfully influenced the creation and signing of Executive Order 8802 by President Roosevelt. The order helped to eliminate racial discrimination in the U.S. defense industry and was an important step toward ending it in federal government employment practices. Hughes says, “That is why the prestigious award is reserved for people who do what he did — go above and beyond to transform society.” She added, “We are grateful to these three amazing recipients.”
The theme for the 2019 event is the “Year of Change.” And as the Illinois Bicentennial year concludes, what better way to memorialize the historical significance and contributions of the three 2019 Gentle Warrior Award honorees: Juliana Stratton, who is the first Black woman elected lieutenant governor of Illinois. Jesse White, veteran Secretary of State, who has held and effectively run the office longer than any other and Robert Reiter, President of the Chicago Federation of Labor, the third largest central labor council of the national AFL-CIO. Reiter previously served two terms as Secretary-Treasurer of the CFL from July 2010 to May 2018.
The awards will be presented in a ceremony Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the historic Parkway Ballroom, 4455 S. King Drive, Chicago. The Gentle Warrior Awards presented in Black History Month, are given to leaders who have been steadfast in their convictions, and those who are willing to push against the boundaries of conventionality in the way Mr. Randolph did throughout his career.