Percy Green II
Percy Green II is the husband of Jamala Rogers.
- Studied Masters in Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis
- Went to Vashon High School, St. Louis, MO
Honoring Percy Green II
On July 14 2018 Inclusion activist Percy Green II was honored at a ceremony organized by Alderwoman Sharon Tyus and Alderman Terry Kennedy at Gateway Arch National Park’s Tucker Theater – the 54th anniversary of his climb up a leg of the partly constructed Gateway Arch (along with Richard Daly) to protest the absence of black workers on the public project.
Following the controversy over the official reopening of the Gateway Arch grounds with an all-white photo op, followed by a diverse “people’s ribbon-cutting” in response, the person who embodies the issue of inclusion at the Arch was honored.
“I wanted to do something proactive,” Tyus said of event held at Gateway Arch National Park’s Tucker Theater. “I wanted it to be something to thank Mr. Green because of all the things that he has done has made it possible for all of us to do so many other things.”
“At this time 54 years ago I was still on the Arch, and in about an hour or so I would be coming down and would be arrested,” Green said. “Thirty days after that arrest, I lost my good job at McDonnell Douglas as a research and development technician. I was working on the Mercury program. I’m only saying that to show you what sacrifice is all about. Not in my wildest dream did I ever think I would lose my job as long as I went to work every day on time and performed.”
Green losing his job resulted in the landmark United States Supreme Court case of McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green regarding nature of proof in a racial discrimination case and the order in which plaintiffs and defendants present proof.
"Before the Green vs. McDonnell case, the only way that you could prove racial discrimination is if the white person that committed the act admitted that they discriminated; otherwise, you couldn’t prove racial discrimination,” Green said.
“Thank you for being an example and not just talking, not just making notice, but showing us how to effectively fight and what civil disobedience really looked like,” state Rep. Bruce Franks, Jr. said directly to Percy Green II at ceremony honoring him on the 54th anniversary of his climb up a leg of the partly constructed Gateway Arch.
“Achieving economic justice is not a short-term battle,” Clay said. “It’s a long, still-emerging struggle which demands our absolute commitment, courage, and willingness to get into good trouble by making people uncomfortable sometimes.”
Franks, one of the organizers of the “people’s ribbon cutting” that countered the #ArchSoWhite photo op, recognized Green as a protest ancestor.
“Thank you for being an example and not just talking, not just making notice, but showing us how to effectively fight and what civil disobedience really looked like, what protesting really looked like, what fighting and standing up really looks like,” Franks said directly to Green.
Green thanked the younger man and his generation for picking up the torch.
“Civil disobedience is a nonviolent technique on bringing attention to various issues,” Green said. “I want to thank Bruce Franks for energizing it and the other young folks for keeping it alive.”
Rogers expressed her dismay that white officials could organize a Gateway Arch ribbon cutting ceremony so close to the anniversary of Green’s climb and not include him.
“I want some new fights,” Rogers said. “I don’t want to be fighting about the same thing. We’ve been doing that for 50 years, and young people don’t want to be fighting about this old stuff. They want some new fights.”