Saluting A. Philip Randolph, Workers' Champion

Three civil rights leaders hold a news conference, April 5, 1957, to announce plans for a prayer pilgrimage to Washington on May 17, the third anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision against segregated schools. From left are the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., A. Philip Randolph and Roy Wilkins. i i

hide captionThree civil rights leaders hold a news conference, April 5, 1957, to announce plans for a prayer pilgrimage to Washington on May 17, the third anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision against segregated schools. From left are the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., A. Philip Randolph and Roy Wilkins.

Henry Burroughs/AP
Three civil rights leaders hold a news conference, April 5, 1957, to announce plans for a prayer pilgrimage to Washington on May 17, the third anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision against segregated schools. From left are the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., A. Philip Randolph and Roy Wilkins.

Three civil rights leaders hold a news conference, April 5, 1957, to announce plans for a prayer pilgrimage to Washington on May 17, the third anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision against segregated schools. From left are the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., A. Philip Randolph and Roy Wilkins.

Henry Burroughs/AP

February is Black History Month and Tell Me More observes the month with a series of short vignettes. In this installment, the program's technical director Kimberly Jones shares her black history hero.

I'm Kimberly Jones, technical director for Tell Me More, and an African-American whom I greatly admire is A. Philip Randolph, a champion for labor equality.

Asa Philip Randolph started his career as an actor in Harlem. But he soon noticed unfair work conditions for blacks and saw the need to organize workers in various industries.

By the mid 1920s he had organized the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, a large union representing black railroad workers.

His influence stretched to the White House with the signing of the Fair Employment Act of 1941; and he was a key organizer of the historic 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

He addressed the National Press Club just days before that march:

Negroes want the same things that white citizens possess, all their rights; they want complete equality, and no force under the sun can stem and block and stop this civil rights revolution which is now under way.

Perhaps the diversity of the modern workplace is sometimes taken for granted. But when I think about the life and work of Randolph, I am reminded that the rights I now enjoy exist because of his devotion to a great cause.

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