A. Philip Randolph's History

A. Philip Randolph History

Asa Philip Randolph is known as one of the greatest labor leaders in American history and the father of the modern civil rights movement. He devoted a lifetime of effort to the struggle for social and economic justice for all people. Mr. Randolph was born April 15, 1889 in Crescent City, Florida. As a young man, he moved to Manhattan and studied at City College of New York. One of his first experiences as an organizer occurred when he organized a protest working conditions as a ship’s waiter.

In 1925, A. Philip Randolph organized the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters union. The campaign for a contract with the Pullman Company lasted 12 years from 1925 to 1937. The contract was hailed as a victory for all union workers. During this same period Mr. Randolph was able to gain membership in the American Federation of Labor (AFL) for his union. After the campaign, Mr. Randolph had not only distinguished himself as a leader within the labor movement, but also gain recognition as a human and civil rights leader. He was instrumental in pressuring President Roosevelt to sign an Executive Order # 8802 in 1941 which banned discrimination in civilian defense plant jobs, guaranteeing fair employment practices for all Americans. Mr. Randolph continued to fight for human and civil rights and in 1955 he was elected a vice president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organization (AFL-CIO).

During 1957 to 1963, Mr. Randolph organized many marches for integration and civil rights legislation, with the most important being, the “March on Washington for Job and Freedom.” It was at this march, that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stirred the nation’s conscience with his “I Have a Dream” speech. In 1965, with funds from the AFL-CIO, Randolph founded the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI), an organization designed to enhance the role of the black trade unionist, both in the community and the union movement.