William Lucy, a prominent union organizer and leader, will receive the Chairman’s Award at the 49th NAACP Image Awards.
The press release from the NAACP highlights Mr. Lucy’s decades of work, dating back to the 1968 Memphis sanitation strike. He worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He also worked with Nelson Mandela to end apartheid in South Africa. Mr. Lucy participated in a vast fundraising effort to campaign for Mandela in the first post-aparetheid elections in 1994.
Mr. Lucy has served for almost 40 years as International Secretary-Treasurer for the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees. He co-founded the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists in 1972. And he co-founded the Free South Africa Movement. Not only did he work for the first free elections in South Africa in 1994, but that year he was, himself, the first African American elected as president of the Public Services International union.
Leon W. Russell, Chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors said:
“I am personally inspired by William Lucy’s activism on a number of civil and human rights issues, and particularly, that he has not forgotten what it is like to be a person of color in America. In honoring him, we will remind the American public not only of his role in the labor movement and his endeavors on economic issues, but also of his distinguished community service and charitable efforts.”
The Chairman’s Award is given “in recognition of individuals who demonstrate exemplary public service.”
Past honorees include Tyler Perry, Rube Dee, Bono, Vice President Al Gore, and Dr. Wangari Muta Maathai.