A. Phillip Randolph (02:00)
A. Phillip Randolph was active in the Civil Rights Movement for more than 40 years. He helped organize black workers into unions and toward the integration of the armed forces.
Randolph's Early Life (04:54)
Randolph was born in Florida in 1889. His father was a preacher, who advocated for equal rights. He moved to Harlem after graduating from high school and got interested in politics.
Randolph in Harlem (06:44)
Randolph became of a member of the Social Democrats and worked selling pamphlets for them. He met successful business owner Lucille Green, who he married in 1914. He launched a radical socialist political magazine, which drew the attention of other black political leaders.
Randolph During World War I (03:50)
Randolph opposed American involvement in World War I, while the NAACP and W.E.B. Du Bios supported it. After the Russian Revolution, the fear of socialism in America grew and Randolph was arrested and charged with treason. The charge was later dropped.
Randolph After the War (03:46)
Black soldiers returned home and were angered that they were not receiving the rights they fought to protect. Randolph condemned the numerous race riots in 1919 in his magazine The Messenger. He pushed for unionization to protect black workers.
Pullman Porters (05:14)
Most of the unions in the American Federation of Labor Unions were closed to black workers. The Pullman Company employed black men as porters to serve whites customers on its sleeping cars. The porters worked long hours, had little rights, and were treated poorly.
Randolph and the Porters (06:32)
The Pullman Porters asked Randolph to help them create a union. They met in secret and created the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters Union. Randolph toured the country to organize it.
The Labor Movement (03:37)
In 1928, Green's business and The Messenger were forced to close. Randolph dedicated his time to getting the Brotherhood recognized as a union by the AF of L and the Pullman Company. The Brotherhood nearly folded after a failed strike.
Randolph During the Depression (06:01)
Porters were reluctant to risk their jobs for the Brotherhood after the Great Depression hit. Randolph saw hope for the labor movement with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's election. He signed legislation so workers could choose their union, which increased the Brotherhood's membership and gave them negotiating powers.
Randolph and FDR (06:53)
In the spring of 1941, American defense industries were rapidly growing. Randolph saw it as an opportunity to convince Roosevelt to integrate the armed forces and end racial inequality in the defense industry. He planned for a march on Washington, which was called off after Roosevelt signed an executive order ending discrimination in the government.
Randolph and Wartime Jobs (03:02)
Randolph's decision to call off the march angered younger radicals, who thought the executive order was not enough. But the order eventually led to greatly increased job opportunities for black men and women. Thousands of black soldiers enlisted for military service, which remain segregated.
Randolph and an Integrated Military (05:51)
During President Harry S. Truman's controversial peacetime draft, Randolph organized protests against segregation in the military. Randolph met with Truman, who refused to meet the demands and protests continued. He eventually ended segregation with an executive order.
Randolph and the AFL-CIO (06:21)
In 1955, the two largest labor organizations merged, and Randolph was elected to the board of directors. He worked to end discrimination within the organization. Randolph helped raise funds for the organizers of the Montgomery bus boycotts.
Civil Rights Movement (06:09)
Randolph fought against racially segregated labor unions, which the AFL-CIO still supported. A council of black members formed to fight for their rights within the organization.
Planning the March on Washington (04:35)
In 1963, Randolph and Rustin worked together to organize a march on Washington. Randolph was able to get all branches of the Civil Rights Movement to work together. He was called to the White House by President John F. Kennedy.
The March on Washington (08:24)
The AFL-CIO refused to support the march, but Randolph found funding from other sources. Randolph gave the first speech at the event and introduced Martin Luther King, Jr. before his "I Have a Dream" speech.
Credits: A. Phillip Randolph: For Jobs and Freedom (02:27)
Credits: A. Phillip Randolph: For Jobs and Freedom
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