golden lady writes!
golden lady writes!
During its 25th Anniversary Celebration, The Black Star Project honored the life and legacy of its founder, Phillip Jackson. There was also a street renaming 35th Street and King Drive to "Phillip Jackson Parkway."
The event started with African drumming and the traditional pouring of libation to acknowledge our ancestors. After welcoming everyone to the festivities, Herb Howard acknowledged 25 years of collective service and dedication. He also appreciates being chosen as the voice for The Black Star Project in recent years.
During a brief stop at the event, Cook County Board President Tony Preckwinkle stated, "I am very grateful for the good work that The Black Star Project has done to support our young men and women as they pursue an education." She said that Phillip Jackson was instrumental in improving the quality of education for young people in the 4th ward during her time as the alderman.
Father Jim Heneghan read a piece he wrote to honor Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable and acknowledge the land he discovered, now known as Chicago. Mama Edie of the ASE Storytellers, accompanied by African drummers, followed with a song by Tite Curet Alonso titled "Las Caras Lindas" that "reflects on the Pan-African history of our people as a result of the transatlantic slave trade. It celebrates the beauty in all of us."
Phillip Jackson empowered countless young people, including the Williams triplets, to achieve greatness. Herb Howard stressed the importance of combining wisdom and experience with youthful exuberance to maximize our potential. Generations must stop placing blame and learn to work together.
Gloria Smith, Executive Director of The Black Star Project, recognized State Senator Kimberly Lightford. On behalf of the Illinois Senate, she submitted a proclamation thanking "The Black Star Project for serving low-income Black communities to increase academic achievement and make lives better for the next generation."
The grand opening celebration for the Pullman National Monument Visitor Center took place on Labor Day. Public officials, National Park Service representatives, and others came together for the historic and festive occasion in the Pullman neighborhood, made possible through public and private funding investment.
Illinois’ fight to preserve and protect the Pullman Historic District began 30 years ago with the purchase of the site. Development started in 2015 when the state joined forces and transferred ownership to the National Park Service to ensure its preservation. According to Terry E. Brown, more to it and its history deserve exploration. Historic events and people here had an indelible influence on the labor movement and the fight for civil rights in America.” said. “The Park Service now has a place to work with our partners, share stories with visitors, and keep this important history from being forgotten.”
Will Shafroth, President of the National Park Foundation, acknowledged the power of the partnership between the Park Service, Chicago Neighborhood Initiative, State of Illinois, National Park Foundation, and many others. Together they “delivered critical investment, expertise, and community engagement to make this project a success.” He said, “What we celebrate today is a monumental commitment to community and future generations.”
National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum Founder Dr. Lyn Hughes and Executive Director David Peterson have worked to promote and elevate the stories of African Americans in the labor movement for over 26 years. “This day is not the culmination, but it’s the beginning,” said Dr. Hughes. She mentioned that the next phase should focus on the north end of the monument, where 96% of the population is African American, to ensure all residents feel included. “Because of us, there are a lot more people who know the history of A. Philip Randolph and the Pullman Porters,” she exclaimed.
Alderman Anthony Beal mentioned the importance of preserving, protecting, and promoting history. He stated, “We want everybody to know what we have here in Pullman.
Robert Reiter, President of the Chicago Federation of Labor, reminded the audience that Labor Day came about because workers had been fighting for it. “As we celebrate Labor Day and this beautiful monument to workers, we cannot overlook the steps we all must take to support these workers every single day.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot stated, “We owe it to the Pullman community and our entire nation to preserve this important history and uplift this neighborhood to its rightful place in our city’s cultural and economic life.”
Congressman Robin Kelly said, “We don’t want Pullman just to be a monument; we want it to be a national park and raise the community’s profile.” She is working with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin to further Pullman’s rich history by advancing legislation. Senator Durbin stated that he is honored to join Congressman Kelly and co-sponsor Senator Tammy Duckworth to put together national park legislation.
Governor J.B. Pritzker stated, “The Pullman National Monument is historic, not just for its origins as one of America’s first planned industrial communities, but more so for its role in fighting for collective bargaining rights in the Black trade union movement.”
The legacy of the Pullman Porters lives on in the work of today’s unions that have banded together in solidarity for economic justice. The Pullman National Monument Visitor Center represents an investment in the education of future generations as it honors the legacy of the Pullman Porters and offers an inside view of their world.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland thanked the National Park Service employees, volunteers, and others for their hard work in moving the monument forward. As a former teamster and organizer, the labor movement is dear to her heart, “The change we seek will make people’s lives better for generations to come.
People stood in line for hours for the chance to see artifacts, listen to recorded stories, and read about the history of the Pullman Porters. The learning experience was worth the wait. We should all spread the word and make sure we put this place on the list of things to do for groups within the city and out-of-town visitors.