By Paula F. Pfeffer
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Additional resources for A. Philip Randolph, pioneer of the civil rights movement
Page 6 I A New-Style Leader Emerges Why should a Negro worker be penalized for being black? A. Philip Randolph, 1935 The ambition to be a leader was an enduring theme in the life of A. Philip Randolph, the man who was to become one of the founding fathers of the modern civil rights movement. "1 The years between 1917 and 1925 served as preparation during which Randolph honed his public speaking technique and founded the highly respected radical journal the Messenger. Because he espoused socialism, labor unionism, and interracial class solidarity, doctrines foreign to most Afro-Americans, he attracted only a minute number of followers at this stage.
Randolph's eloquence, interest in labor issues, and notoriety gained through editing the Messenger led to his working with sleeping-car porters Billy Bowes and Ashley Totten in organizing the Pullman porters in 1925. Admittedly, Randolph knew little of the actual work of the porters because he could not afford to ride on their cars. 32 The Pullman porters were considered the elite of black labor because they had steady jobs and traveled around the country. Randolph had felt 31. Nancy J. Weiss, "From Black Separatism to Interracial Cooperation," in Barton J.
Attracted by the promise of decent jobs and housing, the newcomers were soon frustrated by discrimination, second-class citizenship, and race riots. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the National Urban League (NUL), and the Messenger all directed their appeals to the middle class. Unlike the established integrationist betterment groups, Garvey addressed the disillusioned with a philosophy of mobility and racial separatism and argued that blacks would never receive justice in a white man's country.
A. Philip Randolph, pioneer of the civil rights movement by Paula F. Pfeffer