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Black Activists - A. Philip Randolph

Updated on February 25, 2012

A. Philip Randolph was born April 15, 1889 in Crescent City,Florida and died May 16, 1979 in New York City,New York. Randolph was a key figure in the Civil Rights Movement serving different roles and working on various projects throughout the movement. Randolph is famous for working with unions and African Americans. Randolphis best known for unionizing African American shipyard workers and elevator operators. In addition Randolph helped to develop the first predominately black labor union. Randolph was also one of the organizers of the March on Washington. Randolph did a great deal to help Blacks and others who were underrepresented.

Early Life

A. Philip Randolph was the son of a minister and a seamstress. Randolph’s parents taught him that the color of a person was not as important as their character as well as the importance of having an education. Randolph was an excellent student who excelled in academics as well as drama, music and baseball. Randolph was valedictorian of his graduating class. After graduating Randolph worked a wide variety of jobs until he decided that fighting for social equality was much more important. Soon after Randolph would meet and marry his wife. Randolph’s wife worked and earned enough money to support the both of them since they didn’t have any children.


A. Philip Randolph was very active in civil rights and spent many years helping African Americans. Randolph began working for the civil rights of steamship workers protesting against their working conditions. From there Randolph moved on to the rights of shipyard workers and elevator operators. Randolph strongly believed that unions would help struggling African Americans and so he founded and became president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Randolph is also credited with organizing the March on Washington movement as well as working to integrate the armed forces both of which caused a great deal of changes for African Americans from the government. Finally Randolph was the inspiration behind the Freedom budget which helped with the economic problems of working and unemployed African Americans.

Later Life

Later in life, A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rusted founded the Philip Randolph Institute which was funded by the AFL-CIO which Randolph was the president of. The Philip Randolph Institute worked to help bring together trade unions and African Americans. The Philip Randolph Institute accomplished this with a variety of activities such as voter registration, job training and other civil rights campaigns. The Philip Randolph Institute had well over 200 branches in over 30 states across the country. Randolph worked with the Institute until his death.

A. Philip Randolph did so much work for the civil rights of African Americans. Randolph received a great deal of awards and accolades for his work. Randolph was a fighter and never ceased to fight for the rights of others. Randolph worked tirelessly to help African American workers so that they could work in good and fair conditions.Randolph should be remembered as a humanist that did much more than bringing unions and African Americans closer together.


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    • Triplet Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Triplet Mom 

      6 years ago from West Coast

      Thank you one2get2no!

    • one2get2no profile image

      Philip Cooper 

      6 years ago from Olney

      I never knew this...very interesting hub...thank you.

    • Triplet Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Triplet Mom 

      6 years ago from West Coast

      Nan - Thank you! Could you imagine what would happen if all of those involved in crimes actually got together for a cause what that could do? Researching these activists makes me understand that most of them had absolutely nothing but still went out to fight for what they believed in.

    • Nan Mynatt profile image

      Nan Mynatt 

      6 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks for reminding us of the hard work that he did for all Americans. It's still hard to believe that there was so much discrimination in the US. Nowdays the youth have taken to gang banging and crime. They have not been taught thatthe best way to move ahead is to do it in a sensible manner, with dignity. I marked you up on this hub.


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