February 1, 2021
Our Labor Movement celebrates Black History Month 2021 and the African Americans who fight for labor rights, civil rights and social justice, propelled by our shared values: Equality. Fairness. Opportunity. Diversity. Unity. Dedication. Perseverance.
African Americans can look with pride to role models like labor pioneer and civil rights icon A. Philip Randolph, who organized the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first predominantly African American labor union. Randolph’s union activism guaranteed that Black workers have good jobs, wages and benefits.
Randolph then applied those values to the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, organizing rallies including the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom at which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. The A. Philip Randolph Institute, which Randolph founded, continues his work alongside the AFL-CIO to get African Americans a greater voice in our democracy. Today’s history-makers are standing on the shoulders of trailblazers like Randolph.
In this Black History Month, the New Jersey State AFL-CIO looks back with gratitude and admiration at African Americans who helped transform America, and we look ahead in solidarity with African Americans who labor for even better days for working families.