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Organized labor supports Chicago’s only Labor History Museum

Chicago’s organized labor community put politics on hold for the day to support Chicago’s only Black labor history museum, the National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum (NAPRPPM). The Chicago Federation of Labor, in collaboration with the museum, hosted the 2019 A. Philip Randolph “Gentle Warrior Awards.”

The gala and fundraiser, which was also the Museum’s 24th anniversary, was a Hollywood style awards celebration held  February 24 at the historic Parkway Ballroom, 4455 S. King Drive in Chicago.

The “Gentle Warrior Award” pays tribute to A. Philip Randolph, founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first Black labor union in America to be chartered under the American Federation of Labor. Randolph was one of America’s foremost labor and civil rights leaders, who became known as the “Gentle Warrior.”

The award recognizes individuals both on the local and national level who exhibit a similar commitment, focus and, tenacity that Randolph displayed.

The 2019 honorees included individuals who not only have strong name recognition, but who are also unsung representatives making a difference in their communities.

Jesse White, veteran Secretary of State, who has held and effectively run the office longer than any other person; and Robert Reiter, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, the third largest central labor council of the national AFL-CIO were honored. Reiter previously served two terms as Secretary-Treasurer of the CFL from July 2010 to May 2018,

In addition to the honorees, some who have instant name recognition, it was a newsworthy event because of the collaboration that made the 2019 Gentle Warrior Award event possible.

A partial list of union support includes the Chicago Federation of Labor, the Chicago Teachers Union, IBEW, United Auto Workers, AFSCME, SEIU, ATU Local 308, Carpenters Union, and the Illinois Nurses Association.

The National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum (NAPRPPM) is an IRS certified 501(c)(3) institution. The museum is located in the National Park Service-Pullman National Monument District (NAPRPPM) in Chicago, Illinois. It is the only African American site located in the monument.

Not only is the museum about history, but its creation also made history, founded by Dr. Lyn Hughes, an African American female. The museum was a project developed with primarily private funds. Throughout the years the museum has been recognized as the only one of its kind worldwide. There are countless exhibits and information about the Pullman Porters.

However, NAPRPPM is the only museum which bears the name of A. Philip Randolph and the Pullman Porters. It is the first Black Labor History Museum in the United States that exclusively tells the story of the Pullman Porters, and the journey of establishing the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters labor union, and A. Philip Randolph, the Founder.

The museum presents and interprets content intended to educate the public on the impact the union had on organized labor and on America’s modern day civil rights movement. For more information visit the museum’s website at:

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