AFGE congratulates our very own National Vice President for Women and Fair Practices Augusta Thomas on receiving the A. Philip Randolph Legacy Award presented by the A. Philip Randolph Institute, Baltimore Chapter.
NVP Thomas and Rev. Dr. Alvin Hathaway Sr., who received the A. Philip Randolph Community Service Award, “have been exemplary leaders and have fought for political, social, and economic justice in the workplace and in their communities,” said Lorretta Johnson, president of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, Baltimore Chapter.
AFGE President J. David Cox Sr., was honored to accept the award on behalf of NVP Thomas who couldn’t be there on Monday.
“There is nobody I have ever met who has as many stories with the same theme: doing the right thing, the brave and courageous thing because it was so important to stand up,” said President Cox at the awards reception.
He went on to tell a story of NVP Augusta who in 1960 saw on TV the injustice that bestowed upon four young men in Greensboro, North Carolina, who had been refused service at the Woolworth’s Lunch Counter. Four college freshmen who had just bought some school supplies in the store and wanted to sit down and have something to drink. She was outraged by what she saw. She had participated in some sit-ins in Louisville, and had been thinking about going to Nashville to help out with some sit ins there. But what she saw on TV struck a nerve.
She went to her husband and told him she needed to go to Greensboro. He said he and her father would discuss it. (This was 1960) Fearing that she, a mother of six at the time, could get hurt or even killed, they told her not to go. But she insisted she was going. So she went. She sat on a stool in the Greensboro day after day. She was never served. She was spit on. She was kicked. She was knocked off the stool. She was arrested and sent to jail twice. Crowds of people watched. They were extra special vicious toward her because they thought she was white, not black. They hated her especially because they thought she was a white woman who was a traitor to her race.
President Cox add: “She told me to end the story by saying this: I believe in helping anybody who can’t help themselves. When I see someone – I don’t care if they’re male or female, white or black, democrat or republican. If they need help and can’t help themselves, then I want to help them. That’s why I went to Greensboro. That’s why I sat on that stool day after day. To help those four young men when they needed help.”