Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

APRI Banquet at Spirit of Philadelphia by John O. Mason


The Philadelphia chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI) held its annual banquet and awards ceremony on board the Spirit of Philadelphia, on Friday, September 19, 2014.

The organization was founded by A. Philip Randolph, the United State’s leading African American trade unionist, who, with Chandler Owen, founded the magazine The Messenger advocated Democratic Socialism. After the race riots of 1919, Randolph and Owen founded the national Association for the Promotion of Labor Unionism Among Negros. Porters of Pullman railroad cars asked Randolph to help them organize a union of sleeping car porters, thus founded the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. After a twelve-year struggle against the Pullman company, the BSLP won a contract with the company, the first won by a predominately Black union. With the assistance of Bayard Rustin, Randolph organized the March on Washington of August 1963, where the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King gave his famous “I have a dream” speech.

The honorees were:

Kathy Black, past President of the Philadelphia chapter of the Coalition of Labor Union women (CLUW) and Health and Safety Director of AFSCME District Council 47;
Sherman Harris, Assistant to the President of AFSCME District Council 33;
and Ken Washington, Director of Government Relations of LIUNA District Council.

The President’s Award was presented to Elizabeth Glass, of the PhiladelphiaFederation of Teachers.