LABOR LEADER AND CIVIL RIGHTS
Asa Philip Randolph was born on April 15,
1889, in Crescent City,
Florida. He was a trade unionist and civil-rights leader who was a dedicated and
persistent leader in the struggle for justice and party for the African American
community. A. Philip Randolph was the son of a Methodist minister. Randolph
moved to the Harlem district of New York City in 1911. He attended City College at
night, and with Chandler Owen, founded an employment agency in 1912.
Through it he hoped to organize Black
workers. In 1917, following the entry of the U.S. in World War I, the two men
founded a magazine named "The Messenger." After
1929 it was renamed "The Black Worker." The magazine called for more
positions in the war industry and the armed forces for Blacks. After the war,
Randolph lectured at New
York's Rand School of Social Science and ran unsuccessfully for offices on the
Socialist Party ticket.
In 1925, as founding president of the Brotherhood of
Sleeping Car Porters, Randolph began organizing that group of African American workers
and at a time when half the affiliates of the American Federation of
Labor (AFL) barred Blacks from membership, took his union into the AFL. Despite
opposition, he built the first successful Black trade union. The brotherhood won its
first major contract with the Pullman
Company in 1937.