- Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
International Civil Rights: Walk of Fame
Addie Wyatt
Addie L. Wyatt
1925 - present

Rev. Addie L. Wyatt is one of the country's foremost labor union leaders, women's rights advocate and civil rights activist. She started working with the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America in 1941 in Chicago and later became president of the local union-the first female to hold such a position. She went on to become the first woman to be elected an International Vice President of Amalgamated. Wyatt's contributions not only helped that union to become more progressive, but also helped open the way for redefining women's roles within the general labor movement. Rev. Wyatt became an ordained minister in 1955. In 1956, she and her husband Rev. Claude S. Wyatt founded the Vernon Park Church of God in Chicago. From 1956 to 1968, she joined Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in major civil rights marches, including the March on Washington, the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, and the demonstration in Chicago. During this period, Wyatt also became director of the Women's Affairs and Human Rights departments in the Amalgamated Meat Cutters. Her successful leadership of that department led Eleanor Roosevelt to appoint her to serve on the Labor Legislation Committee of the Commission on the Status of Women in the early 1960s. In 1974, Rev. Wyatt was one of the founders of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), the country's only national organization for union women. She is also a founding member of the National Organization of Women (NOW).

As the oldest girl of eight children, Addie took care of her seven siblings while her mother Maggie Cameron worked. Rev. Wyatt credits her mother with instilling in her empathy and a sense of responsibility for others.

In 1984, Rev. Wyatt retired as Vice President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. Her honors include being named one of Time Magazine's Women of the Year in 1975; and one of Ebony Magazine's 100 most influential black Americans from 1980 to 1984. In 1987, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists established the Addie L. Wyatt Award.