February is Black History Month which has a long tradition dating back to 1915, becoming established in 1926, and officially recognized by the U.S. Presidency every year since 1976.
The Escondido Chamber of Commerce recognizes the importance of inclusion and celebrates the diversity of culture here in Escondido. The Chamber believes in recognizing the diverse make-up of our business community. And the Chamber would like to recognize how the black workforce has shaped America – from housing and education to economic mobility and food security – and how people of color fought for opportunities and equality for all workers, regardless of race.
A few of those pioneers are celebrated below, and next week my column will be guest written by Board Member Cassandra Scheag, owner of Sip Wine & Beer
. The following week it will be penned by Kay Bates of Bates Realty, both of whom also happen to be two of those pioneering forces here in our very own Escondido.
- A. Phillip Randolph (1889-1979) --- By 1935, A. Philip Randolph was at the forefront of the Black labor movement. He was the leader of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP), the first predominantly Black labor union granted a charter by the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and soon expanded his efforts to other industrial areas.
- Bayard Rustin (1912-1987) --- Rustin fought for more than four decades to promote civil and labor rights for Black people. He was particularly known for organizing marches through the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s as a leader with the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). Through this work he was able to influence President Roosevelt’s issuing Executive Order 8802, which created the Fair Employment Practices Committee.
- Addie Wyatt (1924-2012) --- Wyatt began working in the meatpacking industry in 1941 and joined the United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA) shortly thereafter. In 1953, she was elected vice president of UPWA Local 56 and a year later became their first woman president. She continued to work for women laborers and went on to serve as an international representative for UPWA.
James Rowten (JR)