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Texas AFL-CIO Mourns Ceole Speight, Renowned Harris County Labor Organizer

Ed Sills
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The Texas AFL-CIO and our affiliates salute Ceole Speight, an icon in the Harris County labor movement who died Monday at age 93.

For four decades, the path to action for working people in Harris County sooner or later ran through Speight, a pioneering activist who organized anything that moved and mentored countless union members on how to speak up together for better communities and a better Texas. Ceole Speight was also nationally recognized as a go-to voice of the Democratic Party.

“In the Texas labor movement, the Speight name is synonymous with labor and political activism, and Ceole Speight was the matriarch of that family,” Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy said.

“Ceole’s work on the machinery of the labor movement and in speaking truth to power helped make Harris County a center of worker voices in our state. Ceole’s accomplishments have been recognized through her membership in the Texas Labor Hall of Fame and through the decision by what is now the Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation to name its headquarters building for her.”

“This is another poignant moment for union members in Texas, who have recently mourned Ceole’s running buddy, Rosa Walker, and Ceole’s son, Calvin Speight, both of whom were also brilliant leaders,” Levy said. “Ceole Speight’s legacy of activism lives on in the union movement of 2022. We celebrate her life and will miss her greatly.”