Perhaps you are wondering why this man is the subject of this post? A. Philip Randolph
I’ve been reading a book that was used as a reference by Linda Fairstein to write Terminal City, a crime story happening in the Grand Central Terminal (which is really not a terminal nor a station but a city within a city). Ms. Fairstein born May 5, 1947 in, Mount Vernon, NY, is an author and former prosecutor focusing on crimes of violence against women and children. She attended Vassar College, University of Virginia, University of Virginia School of Law. I’m surprised that with her education she writes and talks like those from my city. It took me a while to start enjoying the book because of the senseless, moronic, sexually harassing , bantering in the story.
Grand Central ¤ How a Train Station Transformed America ¤ Sam Roberts
page 148…”Grand Central functioned as a metaphysical gateway in respects. For decades only two jobs held out much promise for black men. They could either apply for work with the post office or hope to be hired as Pullman porters. At one point, when its ranks swelled to 20,000, the Pullman Company was the largest single employer of black men in the United States” of America.
As president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, A. Philip Randolph would be denounced as one of the most dangerous black man in the United States of America.
Indeed he was so dangerous that Ashley L. Totten, a foreigner (born in a Virgin Island), an organizer and a porter for the New York Central “was looking for someone who had the ability and the courage, the stamina and the guts, the manhood and determination of purpose to lead the porters on.”
They met secretly in Harlem, NY and voted to organize. They also invited an avowed Socialist and an outsider immune to company pressure, to be their president. The brother of a former Pullman porter and a man who could not be picked off by the Pullman Company. Their motto:
Fight or be Slaves
Ashley L. Totten was picked off by the Pullman Company. The Union (brotherhood) promoted him to be their secretary-treasurer. The rest that follows is history but I ask you if in the United States of America the stench of inequality still exists?
Organized and led the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first predominantly African American labor union.
Led the March on Washington Movement in the early Civil Rights Movement, which convinced President Franklin D. Roosevelt to issue Executive Order 8802 in 1941, banning discrimination in the defense industries during World War II.
Inspired the “Freedom Budget”, which aimed to deal with the economic problems facing the black community, it was published by the Randolph Institute in January 1967 as “A Freedom Budget for All Americans“.