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Photo courtesy of the A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum

Springfield, MA – The A. Philip Randolph Institute (“APRI”) Mass Chapter announced that it will join the AFL-CIO in lending its full support to an initiative to have the A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum (APRPPM) named as a site in the proposed legislation Senate Bill 1962 to designate a National Park in Chicago’s Pullman area. Accomplishing this goal will honor the African-American contribution to labor in a much broader way, and A. Philip Randolph and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in particular, into perpetuity. The effort is being spearheaded by Tony Taylor, president of the Mass Chapter of APRI.

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency will host a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug.21 at the Pullman Factory Complex to discuss possible options for including Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood within the national park system, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) and U.S. Representative Robin Kelly (D-IL-2) announced Monday. Representatives from the National Park Service, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and all three congressional offices will be in attendance.

If it is done the right way, the creation of the national park site will increase jobs and boost Pullman’s economy as a result of added tourism dollars. Recently there has been an upsurge in the mention of Pullman Porters in articles, those are temporary. However, never do they mention the existence of an actual museum. Why is that? The consensus is—this is an ideal opportunity to use the museum to seize a once in a lifetime opportunity. It will honor A. Philip Randolph in an incredible way, and acknowledge the museums 20-year track record of the A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum. We want to see the museum named in the bill as a site. What better way to honor the contribution of fellow labor members while simultaneously being of benefit to the underserved population of the Pullman community.

This singular act alone will insure that A. Philip Randolph and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters will be honored in perpetuity.

“I believe it is critical that the labor community understand how significant it would be for labor to have the only museum that bears the names of A Philip Randolph and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, written into the legislation,” Taylor said. “I want to be a part of making that happen.”

For 20 years the APR Pullman Porter Museum has held up the banner of the rank and file of labor. The request being made is to name the museum in the legislation and highlight it as a location in Section (6) of the bill, instead of just inserting the term Black Labor.

In January, Illinois lawmaker Congresswoman Robin Kelly introduced legislation to designate the Pullman Historic District as a national historical park. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin is currently crafting his version of the bill S1962 for the U.S. Senate. If approved, it would make Pullman part of the National Park Service System.

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