Asa Philip Randolph: A Biography

Topics: African American, Racism, Racial segregation, Trade union / Pages: 4 (1398 words) / Published: Sep 30th, 2008
Asa Philip Randolph
Although, often looked over Asa Philip Randolph achieved extraordinary feats for the plight of the African American during his lifetime. Early involvement in the Socialist Party set the pace for his radical monthly magazine, the Messenger. With some experience with labor unions in New York, his first immense effort was the organization of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. In 1941 he and two other colleagues suggested the March on Washington, to protest racial discrimination and the desegregation of the U.S. Armed Forces; typical of this time era the march was cancelled by President Roosevelt. In a time when African Americans had few piercing voices in the “sea of racial injustice, Asa Philip Randolph made huge waves socially and politically.
Asa was born in Crescent City, Florida on April 15, 1889 to Elizabeth Robinson Randolph and James William Randolph. His father James a tailor and African Methodist minister taught him the importance of having a strong voice and character. Elizabeth Randolph was a skilled seamstress and put high priority on education and the right to defend oneself physically. The family moved from Crescent City, Fl in 1891 to Jacksonville which had a bustling African American community. As a youngster, Randolph listened to his father’s parishioners complain about problems of racial prejudice. This exposure, combined with the experience of growing up in segregated Jacksonville…raised his racial consciousness (Pfeffer 7). Asa and his older brother James Jr. attended the Cookman Institute in East Jacksonville. At the time the Cookman Institute was the only school in Florida for African Americans, for years. Asa was superb in literature, public speaking and his personal passion drama. Later his excellent public speaking skills would come to use with his fight for equality in the workforce. Although Asa was a shy young man he strived to be the best at quite a few things; star baseball player, solos in the choir and

Cited: Anderson, Jervis. A. Philip Randolph: A Biographical Portrait. University of California Press, 1986. Harris, William H. Keeping the Faith: A. Philip Randolph, Milton P. Webster and the Brotherhood of the Sleeping Car Porters, 1925-1937 (Blacks in the New World)w. n.d. Pfeffer, Paula F. A. Philip Randolph, Pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement. Baton Rouge: Lousisana State University Press, 1996.

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