CWA Local 4340 Celebrates National Black History Month, This week let's Recognize: A Philip Randolph !
As we celebrate National Black History month, we also celebrate the diversity within our own union, CWA Local 4340. We want to take this opportunity to reflect on past African- American Labor leaders that fought for equal rights, better working conditions, and equal pay for all. This week we recognize:
A Philip Randolph
A Philip Randolph was born April 15, 1889 in Crescent City Florida. He moved to New York City after he graduated Valedictorian from the Cookman Institute. He began to take social sciences at the city college where his activism in local government was spurred. He ran for two public offices in 1920 and 1922 but was unsuccessful in his attempts. Randolph’s desire to improve working conditions and better pay lead him to organize the elevator operators in New York City in 1917. In 1919 he became the president of the National Brotherhood of Workers of America. This union organized African-American shipyard and dock workers in Virginia. Randolph went on to be elected the President of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in 1925. The Pullman Car Company was at the time the largest employer of African Americans in the country. This new union gave the black porters a voice, because of their race they were often underpaid and suffered poor working conditions. They would continue to fight Pullman for equal pay and better working conditions until President Roosevelt granted the porters rights under federal law in 1934. Pullman finally started negotiating with the BCSP in 1935 and the BCSP won their first contract in 1937. That contract gave the porters over $2000.00 in pay increases, better working conditions and the guarantee of overtime pay. Randolph continued his union activism and was later elected as the AFL-CIO Vice President in 1955.
Randolph went on to help Martin Luther King further the Civil Rights movement throughout the 1960’s. A Philip Randolph received the following awards for his efforts for equality for all:
1942 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Spingarn Medal.
1964 President Johnson presented him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
1967 He was awarded the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award.
1970 Named Humanist of the year
2014 Inducted into the Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame
Randolph passed away in 1979 in New York.