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Reverend Addie WyattFaith and the Fight for Labor, Gender, and Racial Equality$
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Marcia Walker-McWilliams

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040528

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040528.001.0001

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Unfinished Revolutions

Unfinished Revolutions

(p.175) 7 Unfinished Revolutions
Reverend Addie Wyatt

Marcia Walker-McWilliams

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the tense last years of Addie Wyatt's formal leadership in the United Food and Commercial Workers from 1979 to 1984, and looks at the promises and perils of black political and economic empowerment over the course of the 1980s and 1990s. The 1980s may have been the twilight years of Wyatt's formal career in labor leadership and organizing, but her faith in collective action, the power of coalitions, and the righteousness of the struggle for human dignity and equality remained strong. Key late-twentieth-century progressive political and labor victories illustrated that the fight for political representation, economic rights, and human dignity were far from over. Both Harold Washington's stunning election as the first black mayor of the City of Chicago and struggles for unionism and better working conditions by black workers in the South illustrate that there were chinks in conservatism's perceived impenetrable armor, and that black political and economic insurgency was alive and well in the post-civil rights era.

Keywords:   labor leadership, Addie Wyatt, African American women, black political empowerment, economic empowerment, unionism, working conditions, black workers

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