This month, Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) officials and partner organizations marked the dedication of the newly renamed Reverend Dr. Leon H. Sullivan International Arrivals Hall (formerly International Arrivals Hall), including the unveiling of a permanent exhibit honoring his legacy. The event was attended by family, friends, and leaders of the community. Mayor Kenney was on hand to speak on Rev. Sullivan’s contributions to the communities he served stateside and in African nations.
Kelly Lee, Chief Cultural Officer for the City of Philadelphia said, “Millions of people from all over the world, including those searching for new prospects in our country, pass through PHL’s International Arrivals Hall. It is fitting that this location will bear the name of Reverend Sullivan and forever recognize his work to create equal opportunities for all.”
A civil rights and social justice leader, Reverend Sullivan created the successful boycott campaign Selective Patronage in the early 1960s, which provided 4,000 employment opportunities for Black Philadelphians. In 1966, he created the 10-36 Plan, where he encouraged individuals to invest in the economic futures of their communities by setting up the Opportunities Industrialization Centers (OIC) along with the Leon H. Sullivan Charitable Trust and Progress Investment Associates. Among his other achievements, he established the Sullivan Principles in 1977 and the Global Sullivan Principles in 1999.
Reverend Sullivan received many prestigious awards during his lifetime, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George H. W. Bush, the Four Freedoms Award from the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, and the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award from President Clinton.
It was Reverend Sullivan's organizations that built Progress Plaza, the first black-owned and operated shopping center in the country, and two Human Services Centers to meet the needs of the community. The Leon H. Sullivan Human Services Center, located in North Philadelphia, is a 67,000 SF two-story office building that includes several social and human services organizations.
In addition to establishing the International Foundation for Education and Self-Help (IFESH), he organized the Selective Patronage Movement, played a crucial role in ending apartheid in South Africa, and founded the first Sullivan Biennial Summit. The permanent exhibit will allow travelers to learn about the life, legacy, and contributions of Reverend Dr. Sullivan in the United States and abroad.
PHL’s Interim CEO Keith Brune said at the unveiling, “We are proud to have Reverend Sullivan’s name on our International Arrival Hall and to share his story with the world. Our guests will have the opportunity to learn about his incredible work.”