Reframing RandolphLabor, Black Freedom, and the Legacies of A. Philip Randolph

Reframing RandolphLabor, Black Freedom, and the Legacies of A. Philip Randolph

Andrew E. Kersten and Clarence Lang

Print publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9780814785942

Publisher: NYU Press

Abstract

At one time, Asa Philip Randolph (1889–1979) was a household name. As president of the all-black Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP), he was an embodiment of America's multifaceted radical tradition, a leading spokesman for Black America, and a potent symbol of trade unionism and civil rights agitation for nearly half a century. But with the dissolution of the BSCP in the 1970s, the assaults waged against organized labor in the 1980s, and the overall silencing of labor history in U.S. popular discourse, he has been largely forgotten among large segments of the general public before whom he once loomed so large. Historians, however, have not only continued to focus on Randolph himself, but his role (either direct, or via his legacy) in a wide range of social, political, cultural, and even religious milieu and movements. This book gathers, for the first time, many genres of perspectives on Randolph. It seeks to avoid both hagiography and blanket condemnation alike. The book represents the diverse ways that historians have approached the importance of his long and complex career in the main political, social, and cultural currents of twentieth-century African American specifically, and twentieth-century U.S. history overall.

Table of Contents

1 A Reintroduction to Asa Philip Randolph

Andrew E. Kersten and Clarence Lang

2 Researching Randolph

Joe William Trotter, Jr.

3 A. Philip Randolph

Eric Arnesen

4 Keeping His Faith

Cynthia Taylor

7 Organizing Gender

Melinda Chateauvert

10 No Exit

Jerald Podair