Speakers: William Lucy, Norman Hill, Sephira Shuttlesworth, and Diane McWhorter
This program pays tribute to the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth who fought to end segregation in Alabama and through extraordinary courage advanced civil rights throughout the United States. It also honors William Lucy and Norman Hill, two African American leaders who connected the labor movement with civil rights struggles from Memphis to Johannesburg.
The Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth is recognized by historians as one of the pivotal leaders of the U.S. civil rights movement. In the face of dynamite attacks and other violent reprisals against his family, Shuttlesworth remained steadfast in the pursuit of freedom and justice for all. Representative John Lewis explained his significance: “The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth is the last of a kind. When others did not have the courage to stand up, speak up and speak out, Fred Shuttlesworth put all he had on the line to end segregation in Birmingham and the state of Alabama.”
The foremost African American labor leader in the contemporary United States, William Lucy played a crucial role in helping the public employee union AFSCME organize Memphis sanitation workers at the time of Martin Luther King’s death. He served as Secretary-Treasurer of AFSCME from 1972 to 2010. Founder and president of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) since 1972, Lucy built international solidarity with Nelson Mandela as well as labor movements around the world.
As National Program Director for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) from 1961 to 1964, Norman Hill led the efforts to desegregate restaurants on the Route 40 corridor from Baltimore to Washington, as well as coordinating campaigns against racial injustice at the Waldorf-Astoria, A&P supermarkets, and the Trailways Bus Company. Hill later helped organize the Memphis march after the death of Dr. King. He served as Executive Director of the A. Philip Randolph Institute from 1975 to 1980 and then President of the APRI from 1980 to 2004 where he built upon the legacy of the great labor and civil rights activist A. Philip Randolph (1889-1979).
Co-sponsored by the Labor and Worklife Program and the W.E.B. DuBois Institute