A. Philip Randolph; The 1941 March on Washington and the 1963 March on Washington

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library - Central Library

A. Philip Randolph; The 1941 March on Washington and the 1963 March on Washington

A. Philip Rrand2andolph is widely recognized as one of the most influential labor and civil rights leaders in the United States.  In 1925, he formed and led the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first predominantly black labor union.  As a civil rights leader, utilizing skills gaind as a labor organizer that dates back to World War I, he advocated and fought to end numerous injustices.

In 1941, Randolph led the effort to organize the first March on Washington, canceled one week before its scheduled date in exchange for President Franklin D. Roosevelt's issuance of Executive Order 8802, which prohibited racial discrimnation in the defense industries during World War II. Three years later in 1948, he convinced President Harry S. Truman to issue Executive Order 9981, which ended segregration in the armed forces. Because African Americans and the poor continued to face economic and social problems, Randolph became one of the chief organizers of the 1963 landmark event. 

In recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington,  Dr. Eric Arneson, Professor of History at George Washington University, will speak about Randolph and his efforts from the 1940s through 1963. The author of the celebrated volume, Brotherhoods of Color, Black Railroad Workers and the Struggle for Equality,  Professor Arnesen has published numerous scholarly articles and is a regular contributor to the Chicago Tribune, among other publications.

The lecture will take pace on Saturday, Aug. 31 at 1 p.m. in the Black Studies Center of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.