Former Trustee Rev. Addie L. Wyatt Dies at 88

President Frank Yamada notified the McCormick community of the death of Rev. Addie L. Wyatt. She was 88 years old when she died on Wednesday, March 28. She had been in poor health for several years.

President Yamada noted, “Rev. Wyatt was a part of McCormick for many years. She served on the Board of Trustees from 1993-2002. Our community, and the entire country, was greatly enriched by her commitment to the betterment of others.“

As a national leader in the women’s equality, civil rights and labor movements, Rev. Wyatt began her labor activities in the early 1950s after failing to be hired as a typist because of her color. In 1953, she became the first black woman to hold a senior office in an American labor union. Her union work moved her into the civil rights movement as she welcomed Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Chicago in 1956. In 1961, former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt appointed her to serve on the Protective Labor Legislation Committee of President John F. Kennedy’s Commission on the Status of Women. Two years later, Wyatt helped organize Dr. King’s March on Washington. In 1976 she became the first female international vice president of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America and one year later, President Jimmy Carter also appointed her to the International Women’s Commission. Finally, she served as a mentor to President Barack Obama.

Wyatt’s work led her to become the first African-American woman to be named Time magazine’s Person of the Year in 1975.

Wyatt and her husband Rev. Claude S. Wyatt, Jr. co-founded and co-pastored the Vernon Park Church of God. Her husband died in 2010. She is survived by her son, Claude Wyatt, III and a sister Maude McKay.

Final services for Rev. Wyatt were held on April 7 at Vernon Park Church. 

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