Faith of a Mustard Seed

Barbara Woods-Washington 2014

Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

On May 16, 1979 Asa Philip Randolph died in his meager New York City apartment at the age of 90. Bayard Rustin, who at that moment in history was president of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, said these things “No individual did more to help the poor, the dispossessed and the working class in the United States and around the world than A. Philip Randolph.”

What becomes really clear about “this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others” is how our leaders are ‘chosen for us’ and are ‘given historical value’ based upon the motive and intent of “the others”.

Most underrated of the African American leaders whose voice and heart left a very powerful, conscious and cognitive expression of life concerning contemporary American issues is A. Philip Randolph. The scope of his life’s work can NEVER BE SEEN “through the eyes of others”. Before even getting to the message in his own words look here at a concise ‘Lifetime Line’ to see his message in vision and his deeds.

Asa Philip Randolph

1889 Born: Apr 15th in Crescent City, FL the son of a African Methodist Episcopal Pastor.

1907 Graduated Valedictorian, Cook-man Institute, Jacksonville.

1911 Elevator Operator, Harlem and studies at City College of New York and NYU.

1912 Co-Owner, Brotherhood Labor Force employment agency with Chandler Owen, a Law student at Columbia.

1913 Married Lucille Campbell Green, a Howard University graduate.

1917 Founder/Co-editor of “The Messenger”, an African American socialist magazine with Chandler Owen.

1917 Presented Marcus Garvey to Harlem audience as a Major supporter.

1920 Questioned Garvey’s motives and wrote critique in The Messenger which Escalated into the “Garvey Must Go” campaign.

1925 Established 1st predominantly black labor union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP). Joined BSCP to The American Federation of Labor (AFL).

1929 “The Messenger” renamed “The Black Worker”.

1937 BSCP won its 1st major contract— The Pullman Company.

1938 Randolph removed BSCP from the AFL in protest and took the Brotherhood into the newly formed Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).

1941 Organized as Chairman of an all original “July 1 Negro March on Washing-ton” against unfair working conditions and discrimination in the defense industries.
Results: June 25, 1941, Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802, barring discrimination in defense industries and federal bureaus and creating the Fair Employment Practices Committee.

1948 Now formed the League for Nonviolent Civil Disobedience Against Military. He, with additional Black Leaders met on March 22 with President Harry S. Truman. With no results he began a Campaign urging Blacks to ‘Not Enlist in the Military’. Resulted on July 26 in President Truman’s Executive Order 9981 banning segregation in the armed forces.

1955 A.F.L.-C.I.O. Merger with Mr. Randolph as a Vice President and the only black representative in the executive council.

1960 Formed the Negro American Labor Council as a further effort to end employment discrimination.

1963 Randolph announced the establishment of the A. Philip Randolph Institute in part with a grant from the A.F.L.-C.I.O. Bayard Rustin chosen as First Leader with the task of enlisting community leaders in a broad study of conditions that create perpetual poverty. Now ‘Twenty-One Years later’ “The Negro March On Washington” has come full circle. With Bayard Rustin now at his right hand as organizer, they bring to the table 7 additional Black Organizations whose Leaders have joined the struggle for “Jobs and Freedom”. Having just lost his wife and through his own failing health at the age of 74, A. Philip Randolph steps to the Lincoln Monument Podium with these words: “We are not a pressure group; we are not an organization or a group of organizations; we are not a mob. We are the advance guard of a massive moral revolution for jobs and freedom. This revolution reverberates throughout the land, touching every village where black men are segregated, oppressed and exploited.”

1964 He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon B. Johnson for his lifelong work for universal civil rights.

1979 Died May 16th New York City at the age of 90.

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