Pelosi Floor Remarks on the Passing of LeRoy King
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, it is with great personal sadness that I rise today to pay my final tribute to San Francisco’s much beloved LeRoy King, who died on June 12th at the age of 91. A distinguished labor and civil rights African-American leader, King’s passion for justice and commitment to equality improved the lives of working men and women in San Francisco and throughout the country.
“From inviting Dr. Martin L. King Jr. to speak in San Francisco in 1967 to his casting my Electoral College vote in 2008 for Barack Obama as the first African American President of the United States, LeRoy King was more than a witness to historic progress – he made history.
“During World War II, King served with courage and honor in the Army – and dedicated his entire life to preserving and strengthening the great democracy he fought to protect. Even in his 80s, in the tradition of great American leaders, he was arrested for an act of civil disobedience on behalf of hotel and restaurant workers.
“King served as Northern Regional Director of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) for more than 30 years. It was important to him to overturn a [discriminatory] system that elected only whites to union office, and he helped create a fully inclusive, integrated workforce.
“King organized with legendary labor leader Harry Bridges, was a staunch supporter of civil rights champion Cesar Chavez, was a supporter of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., and in 2009 he was honored with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Award for promoting peace and advancing social and economic justice by embodying King’s inclusive leadership and nonviolent participation.
“From ending discrimination, [to] promoting affordable housing, to community development, to jazz, he has been honored; his accomplishments are memorialized in locations throughout San Francisco. My revised remarks for the record will go more into it.
“It has been a great privilege for me to know such a deeply principled and exemplary human being and to call him my friend. I will miss him; my family, my husband, my daughter Christine – our entire family will miss him terribly.
“I hope it is a comfort to his daughters, Rebecca King Morrow and Carolyn King Samoa, his son LeRoy King Jr. and his grandchildren and great grandchildren, that so many San Franciscans – indeed, beyond San Francisco, people loved and admired LeRoy King and they share their tremendous loss. With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.”