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Archive for February 8th, 2011

Born in Mississippi in 1924, Mrs. Wyatt grew up in Chicago, the eldest of eight children.  Married at 16, Mrs. Wyatt worked in Chicago’s meat packing industry from 1941 to 1954, all while raising her family and taking care of her younger siblings after her mother passes away.  Joining the union soon after her hire, Mrs. Wyatt served as the first female vice president of the United Packing House Food and Commercial Workers Union from 1953 to 1955 (The Union was later known as the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, UFCW).  Throughout the next three decades, Mrs. Wyatt would serve in multiple roles, such as a union activist, international representative, and director of women’s affairs.

Rev. Wyatt’s service to laborers was not contained within the borders of Chicago.  Rev. Wyatt became the labor adviser for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and assisted Dr. Martin Luther King with his various campaigns.  Rev. Wyatt also served as a member of President Kennedy’s Commission on the Status of Women.  When elected as the international vice president of the UFCW, Rev. Wyatt became the first black woman labor leader of an International union.  Rev. Wyatt continued to lend her support and notoriety to various causes such as:  the Action Committee of the Chicago Freedom Movement, helping to found Operation Breadbasket with Rev. Jesse Jackson, as well as his organization, P.U.S.H.  Mrs. Wyatt also helped to found the Coalition of Labor Union Women For her service; Rev. Wyatt was named Time Woman of the Year in 1975, and inducted into the Civil Rights Walk of Fame in 2005.  In 1984, Rev. Wyatt retired from her position with UFCW to co-pastor the church she and her husband found, Mount Vernon of God in Chicago.

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1865 –  Martin Robinson Delany, became the first black line field officer to be commissioned as a major in the U.S. Army,  achieving the highest rank an African American would reach during the Civil War

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