The AFL-CIO's Metropolitan Washington Council hopes to renew efforts soon to raise funds to clean up the Samuel Gompers statue at 11th Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW and build a memorial to A. Philip Randolph, the nation's preeminent black labor leader who died in 1979.
The group launched its fund-raising drive in November 1983 with a $5,000 donation from the national AFL-CIO, but then the plan "was set on the back burner" because of the presidential elections that occupied everyone's attention, a spokeswoman for the local council said.
"There is a committee, but it hasn't been doing anything," she said. The $5,000 seed money is still in a trust fund, and the committee will revive attempts to get money, she said.
A historic preservation group has estimated that it would take up to $15,000 just to refurbish the Gompers statue, the only monument in Washington to an American labor figure, the spokeswoman said.
Gompers founded the American Federation of Labor in 1881 and was reelected its president 42 times until his death in 1924.
Randolph founded the first major black labor union in the country in 1925, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.