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Smith County Commissioners Adopt Resolution for A. Philip Randolph Day

Smith County Commissioners on Tuesday adopted a Resolution recognizing the historic impact of the work done by influential leader A. Philip Randolph and the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI).

The Resolution recognized A. Philip Randolph Day through the continued efforts of the Northeast and East Texas Chapters of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations and the A Philip Randolph Institute.

“He was the author of the labor movement as far as African Americans are concerned,” Commissioner JoAnn Hampton said. “Without him, I don’t think we would have gotten as far as we have.”

Randolph was influential in voting rights, pay equality, education and civil rights for African Americans, Commissioner Hampton said.

A. Philip Randolph Day is set for March 27, the first day of the three-day statewide A. Philip Randolph Institute Conference to be held in Tyler, Texas. From March 27-29, members will meet at Holiday Inn South in Tyler.

Clara Caldwell, state president of A. Philip Randolph Institute, said she expects about 100 delegates from across Texas, as well as youth members, to come to the 42nd annual Convention. The educational conference will include information on voting rights, health and giving back to the community. The national chairman of the organization will be in Tyler on Saturday, she said. Scholarships will be given out during the convention.

Gary Pinkerton, Criminal Justice Coordinator/Pre-Trial Release and Personal Bond Office Director for Smith County, will be on a legal panel discussing “Know Your Rights” at the conference on March 28.

The Tyler Chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute works in the community to educate people about voting, getting people to register to vote and getting out the vote. They do not endorse candidates, Jean Flowers, Member of the Tyler Chapter, said.

A. Philip Randolph, a journalist and civil rights leader, was one of the most influential African American leaders of the 20th century. Born on April 15, 1889, he established the first predominantly black labor union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, in 1925 to improve working conditions for nearly 10,000 African American railroad employees. He improved salaries, job security and working conditions for mainly African American workers in one of the few fields that was open to them for employment.

In 1941, Randolph led a 10,000-person march on Washington to demonstrate against unfair working conditions and discrimination in the defense industries. His leadership was critical to the end of segregation in the Armed Forces.

Randolph helped to organize the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, at which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the historic “I Have a Dream” speech.

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