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Today in Black History…

2/21

Barbara Jordan Birthday

Nina Simone Birthday (sung Strange Fruit)

1864 – 1st US Catholic parish church for Blacks dedicated in Baltimore

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Today in Black History…

2/20

1952 – 1st Black umpire in organized baseball certified, Emmett Ashford

For the conclusion of AFGE Week, we are proud to honor the late, great, Andrea E. Brooks.

From AFGE.org:

Brooks began her government career at Ft. Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, Indiana, rising through the ranks of AFGE while working at the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). Brooks saw the necessary role of the union from the start. After training several men at the DVA who went on to become her supervisors, she decided to become a steward with her AFGE Local to clear up “what’s wrong with this picture.”

Brooks was soon Chief Steward, then Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer, Executive Vice President and then President for ten year of AFGE Local 490 at the Veterans Affairs Regional Office in Los Angeles, California.

Other AFGE credentials include serving as Vice President of the AFGE National VA Council and 12th District National Women’s Coordinator. In 1986, she accepted the position of National Representative for the 12th District. Following her role as a National Representative, Brooks was elected and served six years as AFGE’s 12th District National Vice President, representing Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada.

In the year 2000, Brooks was elected National Vice President of AFGE’s Women’s and Fair Practices where she served until her passing in 2009. We express gratitude to Ms.Brooks for her lifelong dedication to the labor movement, and for the mark she has left on this union.

Today we are elated to honor former AFGE President John Sturdivant!

In 1988, John Sturdivant became the first African-American National President of the American Federation of Government Employees. According to the official AFGE history book, AFGE: Then & Now.

Sturdivants’s first challenge was to fend off an orchestrated attack by independent unions to pick off weakened AFGE locals one at a time. His leadership restored the union’s financial health and repaired a public image weakened by talk, before he was elected, of insolvency.

 In 1990, Sturdivant consolidated the number and size of AFGE districts, creating a new model of organization of which we still benefit from today. Sturdivant also innovated new approaches to labor-mangement partnerships and encouraged participation,  strategic planning, and education on behalf of the union and it’s members.

In 1997, President Sturdivant died in office. The legacy he left behind was one of growth and revitalization for AFGE, having placed to the union on the road towards a stronger future. On February 12, 2003, the AFGE national headquarters building in Washington, DC was dedicated in his honor, being renamed the Roy L. Sims / John N. Sturdivant building.

We thank and appreciate President Sturdivant for his hard work and dedication, while being a trailblazer within the union.

Today in Black History…

2/18

Toni Morrison Birthday

Today we honor our very own National Vice President for Women’s and Fair Practices, Augusta Thomas.

Thomas was born in Louisville, Kentucky and moved to Atlanta, GA at the age of 13. It was there where she was classmates with then future civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr; known as “Little Martin” at the time. She went on to graduate from Central Colored High School, and attend Clark University’s Homer G. Phillips School of Nursing.

 In 1966, Thomas started her career in the federal government as a nurse at the Veteran’s Administration hospital in Louisville, KY. She joined AFGE the very same day. Since then, Thomas held almost every position available within her local, eventually being elected to her current position in August of 2009.

Because of Thomas’ continual hard work in the fields of human rights, AFGE’s 6th district has named an award in her honor, the Augusta Thomas Humanitarian Award. In addition, the Commonwealth of Kentucky has declared April 4th to be Augusta Thomas Day, recognizing her hard work in racial equality and economic development. 

We at AFGE are honored to have Augusta Thomas working on our side. Shes been an invaluable asset to the cause for years, and we are grateful for her efforts and tremendous dedication thus far.

Today in Black History

On this day in:

1870 – Congress readmitted Mississippi on the grounds that is could never change its constitution to disenfranchise blacks.

1891 – Black Inventor, A. C. Richardson, invents the churn. (Patent #466,470)

1997 – Virginia retires its state song, Carry Me Back to Old Virginia,  a song that glorified slavery.

Check in tomorrow for more daily facts!