The Philadelphia chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI) held its awards banquet on board the Spirit of Philadelphia on Friday, September 20, 2013.
By John Mason
APRI is named after A. Philip Randolph, who was the United States’ leading African-American Trade Unionist. Influenced by the Socialism of Eugene V. Debs, Randolph, with Chandler Owen founded the magazine The Messenger; he also was the leader of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in their twelve-year struggle to organize the Pullman sleeping car company, after which they attained a contract in 1937. Randolph led efforts to combat discrimination based on race within the armaments industry as the United States was entering the Second World War; his threat to stage a march on Washington prompted President Franklin D. Roosevelt to sign Executive order 8002 banning such discrimination. Randolph also led the effort to end racial segregation in the Armed Forces, and in 1963, with the assistance of Bayard Rustin, Randolph organized the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I have a dream speech.”
Awards went to Cheryl Lee, Executive Assistant of Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 332; Charlie W. Benn, Assistant to the Executive Director of Council 13 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); and John Kane, Business Manager of Plumbers Local 690.