Asa Philip Randolph organized the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in 1925. It was the strongest labor group among Blacks during its time. With the Pullman car porters as a foundation, Randolph rose to the topmost hierarchy of the labor movement to become the only African-American vice-president of the AFL-CIO. He was also the founder and organizer of the Negro American Labor Council.
Randolph was a native of Crescent City, Florida. He started off with no desire to develop into a spokesman for labor and African-Americans. He actually just enjoyed being a writer and editor for the “Messenger.” He also wrote a bit for the “Opportunity” magazine. Because of his vocal opposition to World War I, he was imprisoned. Upon his release from jail, he threw himself into the fight for the rights for African-Americans. Randolph became widely known for his speeches.
During World War II, Randolph became the prime mover in the celebrated “March on Washington” movement which prodded the United States government into banning discrimination in the industries having government contracts. He has been referenced as being the most effective lobbyist for the establishment of a permanent fair employment practices committee.
However, many have focused on the basic character of Randolph, organizing porters and maids to work on trains during the late twenties and early thirties. But Randolph efforts were fought against every step of the way from railroad management. Randolph never compromised his principals or goals of the Brotherhood.