William Lucy | Nelson Edwards | Cleveland Robinson | Charles A. Hayes | William H. Simons | Original CBTU Leaders

Cleveland Robinson (deceased)
President
District 65 Distributive Workers of America


Cleveland Lowellyn Robinson "Cleve" was reverently spoken of as the historian of CBTU. His direct participation in all the major labor organizations, civil rights struggles and human rights campaigns during the last half of the 20th century made his voice the authority in any discussion. He was a former advisor on labor to the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and was the administrative chairman of the historic 1963 March on Washington. This militant Jamaican-born labor leader was a gifted speaker and organizer, who served as vice president
and then president of the Negro American Labor Council, the forerunner of CBTU. That body took up the struggle to get minority representation in the leadership of the AFL-CIO and its affiliates. Robinson was the first elected 1st vice president of CBTU. Throughout the years, Robinson was a relentless opponent of apartheid in South Africa. In 1990, he was co-chairman of the official visit of Nelson Mandela to New York. He led District 65 and its 30,000 members for 40 years, until his retirement in 1992. He died in August, 1995, but his indomitable spirit is alive.

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