The Alfred McKenzie Award was established in 1994 to recognize Committee clients whose dedication and courage have produced civil rights victories of particular significance. It takes its name from a man whose efforts as a Committee plaintiff helped to change an institution.
During World War II, Alfred McKenzie left his entry-level position in the Government Printing Office (GPO) to join the Army Air Corps, where he served with distinction as one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen. When he returned to the GPO in 1946, he was assigned to the same low-level position he had held before his military service. He then began a careerlong struggle to win equal treatment for himself and his fellow AfricanAmerican GPO employees.
In 1972, represented by Committee staff and the firm of Hogan and Hartson, Mr. McKenzie initiated a class action lawsuit to challenge racial discrimination against African-American pressmen at the GPO. Fifteen years later, his determination led to a landmark victory that secured a record $2.4 million payment to hundreds of African-American workers and, more importantly, a fundamental restructuring of personnel policies that opened the door of equal opportunity to countless minority workers.