The Chicago Public Library’s Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature presents a new exhibition recognizing the life and work of the late Reverend Addie L. Wyatt. Rev. Wyatt served as co-pastor of Chicago’s Vernon Park Church of God with her husband, the Rev. Claude Wyatt, Jr., and was one of the leading human rights activists in 20th century America. Faith in the Struggle: Rev. Addie Wyatt’s Fight for Labor, Civil Rights and Women’s Rights opens on Saturday, March 23 at Woodson Regional Library, 9525 S. Halsted Street, and runs through February 2014.
A public program honoring Rev. Addie Wyatt and celebrating Women’s History Month takes place that same day at 1 p.m. in Woodson’s Auditorium. The exhibit and program are presented, in part, by the Vivian G. Harsh Society, Inc.
The free event features members of Rev. Wyatt’s family, friends and associates including Bathsheba Draper, representing the Wyatt family; Rev. Jerald January, pastor of Vernon Park Church of God; Rev. Jessie L. Jackson, Rainbow PUSH; Professor Timuel D. Black, Jr., Chicago author, activist and historian; Katie Jordan, Coalition of Labor Union Women; Marcia Walker, History Department, Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi; Professor Harold Rogers, City Colleges of Chicago; Natiera Robinson, student filmmaker; and a special gospel performance.
Faith in the Struggle tells Rev. Wyatt’s amazing story with more than 100 items, including photographs, manuscripts, awards, correspondence and memorabilia. Rev. Wyatt was part of the “Great Migration” of African Americans to Northern cities. She became a leader in diverse struggles including fighting for civil rights, women’s rights and labor. As local president of United Packinghouse Workers of America union, she worked directly with civil rights and labor union icons including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., A. Phillip Randolph and Congressman Charles Hayes. In addition, she was founder of the Coalition of Labor Union Women, an early supporter for the National Organization for Women (NOW), and national campaigner for the Equal Rights Amendment.
The Chicago Public Library continues to encourage lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through materials, programs and cutting-edge technology. Through its 79 locations, the Library provides free access to a rich collection of materials, both physical and digital, and presents the highest quality author discussions, exhibits and programs for children, teens and adults. For more information, visit chicagopubliclibrary.org, or call (312) 745-2080.