Services set for the Rev. Addie Wyatt

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The funeral service for the Rev. Addie L. Wyatt, 88, a pioneer in the labor, civil rights and women’s equality movements, is Saturday noon at Vernon Park Church of God, 9011 S. Stony Island. Visitation: from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Her body will lie in s

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The funeral service for the Rev. Addie L. Wyatt, 88, a pioneer in the labor, civil rights and women’s equality movements, is Saturday noon at Vernon Park Church of God, 9011 S. Stony Island. Visitation: from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Her body will lie in state on Friday, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., at the church. With her late husband, the Rev. Claude Wyatt, she co-founded Vernon Park Church.

The Brookhaven, Miss. native was one of the founders of Operation Breadbasket and a board member, and was also heavily involved with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Wyatt and her husband founded the Wyatt Choral Ensemble in 1944. Slightly more than a decade later she was ordained a minister.

During Wyatt’s time as a meat packing company employee Wyatt was elected vice president of Local 56, becoming the first Black to hold a high labor union position.

She and her husband also marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the nation’s capital and in Alabama.

Former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun expressed her sympathy.

“I loved, respected, and appreciated her. She gave tirelessly of herself, her talent. and her many gifts to promote the interests of working men and women, of the poor, of children and the powerless. She was a pioneer in the Labor Union movement, and opened doors for many who sought to make the trade unions more inclusive and democratic. She opened political doors through which many, including myself, entered corridors of power never before experienced by people of color, or by women. She was a civil rights warrior, whose support of Dr. Martin Luther King and his work not only in Chicago, but throughout the world, earned her his respect and the respect of the leadership of the "movement," Braun said in a statement.

President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League Andrea L. Zopp said, “"The Rev. Dr. Addie L. Wyatt was a fearless warrior in the fight for equality for the disenfranchised and the underserved. She blazed a trail in the civil rights, labor rights and women’s rights movements that was unprecedented. Dr Wyatt set the standard for women’s leadership and touched thousands of lives through her community and civic engagement and through her ministry at Vernon Park Church of God, which she co-founded with her husband Dr. Claude Wyatt.  All of us at the Chicago Urban League were thrilled to present Dr. Wyatt with our highest honor, the Edwin C. “Bill” Berry Civil Rights Award, at our 2010 Golden Fellowship Dinner. Although she was not in the best of health at the dinner, her indomitable spirit shone through and her mere presence brought the audience to its feet.  Our prayers and condolences go out to Dr. Wyatt’s family, friends and loved ones at this time. We may have lost a legend, but her life and legacy will forever be an inspiration to everyone who believes in justice and the equality."

Wyatt is survived by her son Claude and grandchildren.

Copyright 2012 Chicago Defender

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