Tribute to Fred Redmond and Brenda Lawrence

Breakthrough Leaders, Opening theVaults of Opportunity 

Fred RedmondJoin us in honoring AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Fred Redmond and former Michigan Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence at the Summit for Civil Rights, September 28-29, 2023.

Dr. King, in his historic speech at the March on Washington, spoke of opening "the great vaults of opportunity” in “the bank of justice of this nation".

This year's Summit for Civil Rights recognizes the tremendous contribution of Fred Redmond for his leadership of the American labor movement and for his recent, and well-deserved, elevation to Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO. Mr. Redmond is the highest ranking African American labor leader in American history following in the footsteps of the great A. Philip Randolph.

The Clyburn Award was named for its first recipient James E. Clyburn who rose to become the highest ranking and most powerful African American member of United States Congress and for the “Great Vaults of Opportunity” that Dr. King insisted be pried opened for American working families of all colors in his August 28, 1963, speech at the March on Washington.

Brenda L. Lawrence is this year’s recipient of Summit for Civil Rights Shirley Chisholm Breakthrough Leader Award for her extraordinary and inspirational rise to power. Ms. Lawrence is a breakthrough leader whose history and experience personifies the American Civil Rights Movement’s critical alliance of Organized Labor, and powerful Black Elected office holders.

Congresswoman Lawrence began her career as a letter carrier with the U.S. Postal Service and member of the powerful American Postal Workers Union (APWU). She rose to executive leadership in the Postal Service while rising to prominence in Southfield Michigan from School board to City Council President and eventually becoming the first African American and first female mayor of this important Detroit suburb. Today, Congresswoman Lawrence is the Executive Director of Spill the Honey, a national organization dedicated to restoring the historic and powerful relationship between Black and Jewish faith institutions and leaders during the American Civil Rights movement.

Sadly, we will also be paying tribute to the late William (Bill) Spriggs and John H. Bracey Jr., two brilliant scholars and heroic civil rights champions who were members of our Summit for Civil Rights team.