Bill Lucy, an AFSCME member since 1956 and founder of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU). Lucy became president of the Public Services International Union in 1994, the first African American to hold the position. A year later he was appointed to the AFL-CIO executive council. Lucy was with Martin Luther King through the Memphis sanitation strike and was there when King was assassinated in 1968. Despite the assassination, Lucy—a Memphis native—continued the work in that city, helping to bring the strike to a successful conclusion. He is credited with creating the slogan “I AM A MAN”, which became the rallying cry for the Memphis sanitation workers during their strike.
Bill Lucy was also closely involved with the Free South Africa movement to abolish apartheid and was one of the monitors during the election of Nelson Mandela as the first black president of South Africa.
Lucy served as president of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists for 40 years until 2013. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the NAACP.
We salute and honor brother Lucy for his dedication to the working men and women and to his love and commitment to justice and equity for black voices in the union movement.