follow url Philip Randolph articulated the most thoroughgoing opposition to immigration: "Instead of reducing immigration to 2 percent of the quota, we favor reducing it to nothing We favor shutting out the Germans from Germany, the Italians from Italy This country is suffering from immigrant indigestion. The excessive immigration is against the interests of the masses of all races and nationalities in the country — both foreign and native.
Randolph's restrictionist position may have very well been influenced by his experience as a southern migrant to New York City amid the large influx of West Indians during the period. Born in in Jacksonville, Florida, Randolph moved to New York at the moment that West Indians as well as African Americans were arriving in the city in large numbers. Certainly Randolph also could be harsh on West Indians.
Yet his basis of criticism of West Indians lay in their political shortcomings, not their economic competition or ethnic chauvinism. For all their talk of resisting oppression, West Indians, Randolph believed, did not take the appropriate steps to organize against discrimination. To challenge discrimination, blacks, he held, needed political power, and such power could only be garnered by citizens. Randolph's restrictionism cannot be dismissed as an aberration of the postwar years.
In the s he supported legislation to exclude non-Americans from working on railroads in as servants. Clarence C. Dill of Washington that forced railroads to hire only American citizens in service positions when engaged in interstate commerce. For civil rights leaders such as Walter White, it was the affinity between nationalism and racial exclusion that prompted them to oppose restrictionist or exclusionist immigration policies.
Despite what it held out for black labor, he opposed the Dill bill. Walter White did not have a monopoly on principles, and Randolph was far from lacking in that department. In fact, all who knew Randolph thought of him as a person of principle and integrity. He stands four-square to all the winds, he stoops to no wiles or artifices to attain his goals. He is steeped in principle, and he has the complete certainty of a true reformer in the eventual triumph of his cause.
He adopts none until he is certain it is morally right and that it will result in advantage to the entire community. It appears no one ever accused him of doing so. Like most restrictionists, Randolph came to his position out of loyalty to and concern for his group. As a boy in Florida, he experienced the rise of Jim Crow, which came down as forcibly on his world as Redemption had come down on his father's. Turner's nationalism was never the cheap and dirty variety born of hatred; rather, it was born of the righteousness of the oppressed who had long harbored the idea of racial reconciliation.
Bishop Turner left a lasting influence on the minister's son. Across ideological lines, Randolph identified with those who took the group's problem as their own and sought solutions to it. From his days in Jacksonville to his early years in New York, Randolph politicized black identity. Beside having Turner offered as a role model, Randolph admired W. Du Bois for his spirit of protest and his advocacy of social equality.
While rejecting the accommodationist posture of Booker T. Washington, Randolph could not help but respect his organizational ability. After moving to New York, Randolph encountered socialism and embraced it. He did so not as a universalist, but rather as a black intellectual seeking a greater understanding of the oppression of his group and a solution to their problem.
As his biographer, Jervis Anderson, has stated, "A believer previously in pure-and-simple racial radicalism, he now felt that if some of the conditions which victimized black Americans were endemic to the nation's economic life He once wrote, "Salvation for a race, nation, or class must come from within. If the plight of blacks led Randolph to socialism, it also appears that his concern about blacks as a laboring people led him to immigration restriction.
Quite often labor organizers who had climbed through the ranks of the oppressed articulated a radicalism forged in their national as well as their class consciousness. Ever rooted in a national identity, the American Federation of Labor, for instance, often seemed concerned only about workers who fit its description of an American. Having placed boundaries on the working-class community of its concern, the AFL viewed restrictionist policies as a prerogative for protecting the interest of both class and nation. Randolph's restrictionist views never turned hostile to immigrants because Randolph never gave himself over to nationalism of any sort, not to mention jingoistic brands.
Though he worked with nationalists such as Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X and shared their tendency to place their race's interests first, Randolph never defined the other as an enemy. The respect he had for other groups placed him in opposition to attempts on the left to pit identity groups against one another for the cause of radicalism.
He recoiled at the prospect that communists in Harlem were teaching West Africans to distrust and hate whites. For much of his career, he sought to expand labor organization among Africans. He wanted them to gain education here, as well as in Africa, in order to return to their countries and foster change for workers. Within the black community of New York, where he worked his entire career, Randolph's restrictionist ideas took courage and conviction. Beside placing him at odds with the hardcore inclusionists among civil rights leaders, it pitted him against the black radical tradition being forged in New York City.
West Indians, who were among the leading black socialists, were decidedly for open immigration and against the discriminatory treatment of immigrants and, through their influence, the National Negro Congress of the s sided with the immigrants. While it took courage for him to go against the radical mainstream, his position was viable because it had support both within his group and in other circles. Beside the support of rank-and-file black leaders and intellectuals, Randolph probably knew he had the silent support of leaders like W. Du Bois, who had written about the need for talented blacks to excel and set an example.
He met Chandler Owen, a young Columbia University law student who shared his intellectual interests and ideological convictions, and the two started a small employment bureau for largely untrained blacks arriving in the city from the South. Randolph and Owen began a publication, The Hotel Messenger , to serve as a mouthpiece for a fledgling union of black head waiters. But the young intellectuals, who used the paper to discuss wide-ranging issues of black suffrage, were too radical, too impolitic, for the waiters union, and the relationship soon ended.
The paper, in its new incarnation as The Messenger , continued, however, to provide a forum for Randolph and Owen, who argued in its pages against U. The U. Campbell, Started employment bureau for untrained blacks arriving from the South , New York City; cofounder of publication The Messenger; organizer of Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters , New York City, , president emeritus, ; organizer and director, March on Washington Movement, ; lobbied for integration of U. Awards: Honorary LL. Randolph and Owen failed in their early attempts to organize other black labor forces in New York City.
The Pullman Company, then the largest employer of blacks in the country, had since successfully squelched the attempts of its porters to organize. The company summarily fired those porters who tried to rally their co-workers to support increases in pay and better working conditions.
The March on Washington campaign, precursor of the March on Washington, was an important moment in the struggle for civil rights in the United States. Sign in via your Institution Sign in. He died at the age of ninety in New York City in May Roosevelt, a union-friendly Democrat in his first term in the White House , signed into law a bill that gave the porters the same protections as other groups of railroad industry employees. Error rating book.
The porters saw in Randolph a brilliant leader who, as an outsider, would not collapse under corporate pressure. Randolph recognized the difficulty of persuading blacks in the company — and throughout the country — to sympathize with a union, primarily because the only exposure most of them had to organized labor was through groups that were for whites only. Randolph also had to contend with the general impression among blacks that porters had a good life, traveling to exotic places around the United States and hobnobbing with the wealthy, albeit in the role of waiter or shoe-shiner.
Underlying his passion for labor rights was a conviction that equality for blacks could only be achieved if economic opportunity did not fall along racial lines; as long as blacks were kept in menial jobs, unable to tap into advancing technology, Randolph believed, they would forever be treated as second-class citizens, relegated to the back of buses and restaurants. Throughout his life, Randolph pursued economic egalitarianism through a process of coalition-building and working from the inside, which occasionally angered black militants who thought he should have been less conciliatory.
He disagreed with black leaders, including Jamaican black-nationalist Marcus Garvey , who saw it as futile for blacks to attempt to rise above their hardship in the United States and advocated that they return to Africa, the land of their ancestors. Randolph, whose legend was sealed with his victory at the Pullman Company, began looking out at the nation for other areas, other industries, in which blacks were locked out of economic parity and therefore deprived of justice.
In he found his rallying point in the discrimination practiced in private defense plants and the segregation of the U. Armed Forces. Ebony contributor Lerone Bennett, Jr. Acknowledging that friendly requests and congenial meetings would never work on their own, Randolph hatched the idea of leading a protest march of 10, blacks in Washington, D. At first, newspapers and civic leaders questioned whether Randolph — or anyone — could assemble so many blacks for such a demonstration. But the march idea caught on, and eventually Randolph raised the stakes to President Roosevelt by saying that 50, blacks were to come, and then , The harshest words came from those who argued that in excluding whites from his March On Washington Committee, Randolph was perpetuating the same divisiveness the march was designed to eliminate.
President Roosevelt knew the criticism challenging Randolph was minor relative to the excitement surrounding the upcoming march. But Randolph did not back down, saying that if there were violence, it would be at the hands of racist whites. July 25, , less than a week before the scheduled demonstration, Roosevelt issued his historic Executive Order , which banned discrimination in the defense industry and led to the Fair Employment Practices Committee.
They called Randolph a sell-out when he agreed to cancel the march — he said it was a postponement — in exchange for the order. They also claimed there were many other injustices that the march would have helped expose and perhaps remedy. In he told a congressional committee that he would advise the youth of America — black and white — to boycott any draft until the U.
Armed Forces were integrated. President Harry Truman was, like Roosevelt before him, reluctant to accede to Randolph. But he finally gave in because he was in the middle of a heated reelection campaign and wanted to use civil rights to appeal to northern urban voters. Fifteen years later, Randolph reaffirmed his commitment to civil rights by setting into motion a march that actually did materialize. Like his predecessors, President John F. Kennedy worried that bringing thousands of blacks to Washington would lead to violence.
The historic August 28, , March on Washington, during which revered civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Its aim was to achieve a national consensus not only for civil rights legislation, but for its implementation. Throughout the s, the status of Randolph as a champion of labor and civil rights was obscured by the emergence of younger, more dynamic firebrands. He was a self-made gentleman and a prudent tactician with the grit and toughness of a boxer.
Randolph was a man of quiet courage, of resoluteness without flashiness, of perseverance without pretension. Anderson, Jervis, A. Philip — The American labor and civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph, considered the most prominent of all African American trade unionists, was one of the major figures in the struggle for civil rights and racial equality. His father was a traveling minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and his mother was also devoted to the church.
Both of his parents were strong supporters of equal rights for African Americans. The young Randolph had a close relationship with his older brother, William.
The brothers' early childhood games included role playing in which they worked for African American rights. The family moved to Jacksonville, Florida, in Asa attended local primary schools and later went on to the Cookman Institute in Jacksonville, Florida. In the spring of Randolph left Florida for New York City, where he studied at the City College of New York while working as an elevator operator, a porter, and a waiter. While taking classes at the City College, Randolph discovered great works of literature, especially those of English playwright William Shakespeare — , and he also began to sharpen his public speaking skills.
Following his marriage in to Lucille E. Green, he helped organize the Shakespearean Society in Harlem and played the roles of Hamlet, Othello, and Romeo, among others. Debs — The Socialist Party is a political party that believes the producers, or working class, should have the political power and ability to distribute goods. In Randolph and Chandler Owen founded the Messenger, a radical publication now regarded by scholars as among the most brilliantly edited work in African American journalism.
Randolph's belief that the African American can never be politically free until he was economically secure led him to become the foremost supporter of the full integration of black workers into the American trade union movement bringing blacks into the ranks of trade unions, which fight for the rights of workers. The uphill battle, marked by fierce resistance from the Pullman Company who was then the largest employers of African Americans in the country , was finally won in and made possible the first contract ever signed by a white employer with an African American labor leader.
In the s Randolph developed the strategy of mass protest to win two major executive orders, or orders from the government. He agreed to call off the march only after President Franklin Roosevelt — issued Executive Order , which banned discrimination selection based on race in defense plants and established the nation's first Fair Employment Practice Committee.
In Randolph warned President Harry Truman — that if segregation separation based on race in the armed forces was not abolished to put an end to , masses of African Americans would refuse entering the armed forces. Soon Executive Order was issued to comply with his demands. In Randolph organized the Prayer Pilgrimage to Washington to support civil rights efforts in the South , and in and he organized a Youth March for Integrated Schools.
This was the site of Martin Luther King Jr. Randolph was called "the chief" by King. And in , at the White House conference "To Fulfill These Rights," he proposed a ten-year program called a "Freedom Budget" which would eliminate poverty for all Americans regardless of race.
The story of Randolph's career reads like a history of the struggles for unionization creating trade unions and civil rights in this century. He lent his voice to each struggle and enhanced the development of democracy government by the people and equality in America. Randolph always said that his inspiration came from his father. However, Randolph's message lived on. Seventeen years after his death, Randolph's civil rights leadership and labor activism became the subject of a Public Broadcasting Service PBS documentary, "A.
Philip Randolph: For Jobs and Freedom. Included were powerful images of the quest, including the formation of the National Association for the Promotion of Labor Unionism Among Negroes in and the twelve-year battle to organize porters in spite of the Pullman Company's use of spies and firings to stop it. Throughout Randolph's years as a labor and civil rights leader, he rocked the foundations of racial segregation, pressuring presidents and corporations alike to recognize the need to fix the injustices heaped on African Americans.
Embracing a nonviolent, forward-looking activism, Randolph will be remembered as both a radical activist and " Saint Philip. Berkeley: University of California Press, Branch, Taylor. Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, — New York: Simon and Schuster, Cwiklik, Robert. Philip Randolph and the Labor Movement. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, Patterson, Lillie. Philip Randolph: Messenger for the Masses. New York: Facts on File, Philip Randolph , considered the most prominent of all African American trade unionists, was one of the major figures in the struggle for civil rights.
At the age of 21 Randolph joined the Socialist party of Eugene V. In he and Chandler Owen founded the Messenger, a radical publication now regarded by scholars as among the most brilliantly edited ventures in African American journalism. Out of his belief that the African American can never be politically free until he was economically secure, Randolph became the foremost advocate of the full integration of black workers into the American trade union movement. The uphill battle for certification, marked by fierce resistance from the Pullman Company who was then the largest employers of blacks in the country , was finally won in and made possible the first contract ever signed by a white employer with an African American labor leader.
In the s Randolph developed the strategy of mass protest to win two significant Executive orders. In , with the advent of World War II , he conceived the idea of a massive march on Washington to protest the exclusion of African American workers from jobs in the defense industries. He agreed to call off the march only after President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order , which banned discrimination in defense plants and established the nation's first Fair Employment Practice Committee.
In Randolph warned President Harry Truman that if segregation in the armed forces was not abolished, masses of African Americans would refuse induction.
In August , Randolph organized the March on Washington, fighting for jobs and freedom. And in , at the White House conference "To Fulfill These Rights," he proposed a year program called a "Freedom Budget" which would eliminate poverty for all Americans regardless of race. The story of Randolph's career reads like a history of the struggles for unionization and civil rights in this century. He lent his voice to each struggle and enhanced the development of democracy and equality in America. Seventeen years after his death, Randolph's civil rights leadership and labor activism became the subject of a PBS documentary, A.
The tribute that took him from "obscurity" to a force that "moved presidents," was presented in conjunction with Black History Month, in February, telling his story through reenactments, film footage and photos. Included were powerful images of the quest, including the formation of the National Association for the Promotion of Labor Unionism Among Negroes in and the year battle to organize porters in spite of the Pullman Company's use of spies and firings to thwart it.
Throughout his years as a labor and civil rights leader, Randolph rocked the foundations of racial segregation, pressuring presidents and corporations alike to recognize the need to remedy the injustices heaped on African Americans. Embracing a nonviolent, forward looking activism, Randolph will be remembered as both a "radical subversive" and " Saint Philip. There are two biographies available on Randolph. Jervis Anderson's A. There were two useful sites available through the internet. His career and life were discussed in numerous books on African Americans and the labor movement.
Among the older studies are Sterling D. Spero and Abram L. Embree, 13 against the Odds More recent studies are Saunders J. Adams, Great Negroes: Past and Present ; 3d ed. Philip Randolph. Asa Philip Randolph played a central role in the drive for civil rights for African Americans from the s to the s.
He was the most prominent African American labor leader during his lifetime, but his leadership went well beyond the struggle to integrate labor unions. Randolph was born April 15, , in Crescent City, Florida. He joined the Socialist party and campaigned against U. His life's work grew out of a request by Pullman car porters to help them organize a union. In the s railroads dominated U. The dining cars, club cars, and sleeping cars of passenger trains were staffed by African American porters, who earned their money primarily from the tips of passengers. Randolph sought from the Pullman Company recognition of the union, improved working conditions, and a minimum wage.
The struggle took twelve years, but Randolph finally achieved these goals. Despite his success the AFL continued to refuse to allow black members. Randolph informed the president that if his demand was not met, he would organize a mass march on Washington, D. Roosevelt capitulated, signing an order that integrated industries accepting federal defense contracts and which established the Fair Employment Practices Committee.
The membership of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters now part of the Brotherhood of Railway and Airline Clerks declined in the s, as airlines and automobiles became the dominant modes of long-distance transportation. Randolph continued to ascend, however, as he became vice president of the american federation of labor and congress of industrial organizations AFLCIO in The only prominent African American to head a union, Randolph refused to act as a mere symbol of racial integration.
Randolph again achieved national prominence for promoting a march on Washington, D. In he called for a march to protest racial discrimination and to demand jobs for African Americans. He later agreed to join forces with other civil rights leaders, including Dr. Randolph was given the job of organizing the march. More than , people heard King's "I Have a Dream" speech, and many millions watched on television.
Randolph played a central role in this important event. Randolph continued in the s and s to lobby for civil rights legislation and jobs for African Americans. He died May 16, , in New York City. Jervis, Anderson. New York:: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Neyland, James. Los Angeles : Melrose Square. Pfeffer, Paula F. Baton Rouge : Louisiana State Univ.
Civil Rights Movement ; Labor Union. Asa Philip Randolph , —, U. Crescent City, Fla. As a writer and editor of the black magazine The Messenger, which he helped to found, Randolph became interested in the labor movement. In he organized a small union of elevator operators in New York City. After an unsuccessful campaign for the office of New York secretary of state on the Socialist ticket, he devoted his energies to organizing the Pullman car porters, a group of black workers he had tried to organize earlier.
Despite bitter opposition by the Pullman Company, Randolph eventually won recognition for the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters , pay increases, and shorter hours. Randolph was elected president of the union when it was formed in An untiring fighter for civil rights , he organized the March on Washington Movement in protest against job discrimination.
This movement, although it did not culminate in a march, is credited with hastening the establishment of the Fair Employment Practices Committee during World War II. Randolph was also one of the most prominent leaders in the fight against segregation in the armed forces. His election to a vice presidency of the AFL-CIO in was, in part, in recognition of his efforts to eliminate racial discrimination in the organized labor movement.
In , Randolph was director of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, one of the largest civil-rights demonstrations ever conducted in the United States. The A. Philip Randolph Institute was founded in by Randolph and others to serve and promote cooperation between labor and the black community. Randolph retired from the presidency of the union in , although he continued in his position as a vice president of the AFL-CIO.
See biographies by D. Davis and J. Anderson Randolph, A. Philip — , labor and civil rights leader. In response to increasing segregation and discrimination against blacks, Randolph shunned moderate reform and racial integration, as advocated by W. Du Bois , and emphasized instead socialism and trade unionism. In , when blacks were excluded from many defense industry jobs as the United States prepared for World War II , Randolph threatened a mass protest march on Washington.
The demonstration was called off when President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order 25 June , establishing the Fair Employment Practices Committee to try to prevent such racial discrimination. In , Randolph's advice helped convince President Harry S. Truman to issue an executive order banning racial segregation in the military.
Jarvis Anderson , A. Philip Randolph: A Biographical Portrait , Paula F. Pfeffer , A. Asa Philip Randolph — was an American labor and civil rights leader. During the first half of the twentieth century he was considered one of the most prominent of all African American trade unionists as well as one of the major figures in the African American struggle for civil rights. He maintained that African Americans could never be politically free until they were economically secure, and so Randolph became the foremost advocate of the full integration of black workers into the American trade union movement.
Randolph graduated from the Cookman Institute in Florida in , at the top of his class. Randolph was a good singer and actor. The idea of becoming a professional performer led him to New York , where he found himself working as a delivery driver, sales clerk, and a laborer on the railroad. Harlem was the nation's capital of black intellectual life at that time and the center of what would later be called the Harlem Renaissance. In Harlem Randolph turned to politics instead of the stage. In college he made friends with political radicals and founded the Independent Political Council in , a radical current affairs group.
He also worked on the campaign of socialist John Royal who was running for city council. By Randolph met Ernest Welcome and began working for Welcome's Brotherhood of Labor, an organization that brought workers from the South and helped them find jobs in New York. Randolph also married Lucille Campbell that year. She supported Randolph economically as he pursued his political activism.
In Randolph began to emerge as a dominant voice in the "New Negro movement. In Randolph became the leader of a campaign to organize the African American men who employed as porters aboard most trains in the United States. In , after years of continuous work, the first contract was signed between a white employer and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. This was a milestone for African American workers and the labor movement. By Randolph was deeply involved in the black civil rights movement.
He agreed to call off the march only after President Franklin Roosevelt — issued Executive Order , which banned discrimination in defense plants and created the nation's first Fair Employment Practices Committee. In Randolph once again initiated strategic efforts to enhance civil rights for African Americans. He warned President Harry Truman, — that if segregation in the armed forces was not abolished, then masses of African Americans would refuse military induction. Truman soon issued Executive Order , establishing "equality of treatment" in the armed forces. Randolph continued his civil rights work on behalf of African Americans.
In the s he organized youth marches to integrate schools. Randolph's career reads like a history of struggles for unionization, worker equity, and civil rights in the twentieth century. His efforts focused on securing political freedom for African Americans by creating greater economic security. He created unions and organized millions of people in the Civil Rights Movement. Randolph died in , having realized many of his goals for African Americans and civil rights. Philip Randolph; a Biographical Portrait.
Black Labor; the Story of A. Harris, William H. Keeping the Faith: A. Philip Randolph, Milton P. Webster, and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, — Economic History. Randolph, Asa Philip — US labour leader and civil rights activist. He founded the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and became a leading spokesman for the employment rights of blacks.
He influenced President Roosevelt's executive order on fair employment practices and led the march on Washington for jobs and freedom. The March on Washington campaign, precursor of the March on Washington, was an important moment in the struggle for civil rights in the United States. The specific goal of the campaign was to pressure the Administration to end discrimination in the government, the armed forces, and defense industries. The more general goal was to make the grievances of the black population heard and to bring about social change.
Randolph cancelled the march but founded the MOWM March on Washington Movement to maintain the threat of a mass black march to pressure federal officials to advance civil rights. In September , three prominent black leaders Randolph, T. Although Roosevelt promised to investigate the matter, he issued a statement declaring that a segregation policy would be maintained in the military.
Randolph concluded that the conference method of handling black problems was ineffective. Randolph had traveled extensively throughout the US in and continued to do so in , seeking to raise awareness and increase participation in the movement against discrimination. Randolph believed that broad, organized mass action was required to put pressure on the political authorities, while speeches, petitions and conferences had become irrelevant. The tactics used to organize the March on Washington were based on the struggle and community organizing at the local level through protest networks that the US had seen as early as the s.
Preparation for the March became the major vehicle uniting the African American community around equal citizenship. When first promoting the March idea in black communities, Randolph and the BSCP members spoke as organizers and participants in the new-crowd networks that had emerged from the upheaval of the s. The language spoken by the organizers was familiar to communities steeped in the struggles for democratic rights for black Americans that had unfolded during the s and s. Most members of the black press and clergy promoted the march. Organizers chartered buses and trains to carry African Americans to the capital on July 1, He built the new movement of protest and pressure by explaining its aim and urging support in speeches and articles in the black press, which, with the exception of the Pittsburg Courier, was generally supportive.
In New York City, Randolph and other Brotherhood members took to the streets for outdoor meetings, poster walks and similar forms of direct contact. The Chicago BSCP drew upon the new-crowd protest networks, which they had helped shape, to mobilize black Chicago for the proposed March on Washington. One such network, the Chicago Congress of Negro Organizations, was so well organized it was prepared to march on Washington in late March In Oakland, California, Union Porters canvassed the black community for support of the March by organizing public meetings and giving public speeches.
In Montgomery, Alabama, E. Randolph requested existing black organizations in cities throughout the country to set up local committees to recruit marchers. In addition, they were to march on the city halls of their respective cities. Bulletins explaining the main objectives of the campaign appeared in beauty parlors, pool halls, churches, clubs, stores, selected black magazines and newspapers in at least eighteen cities.
By mid-May, the NAACP contributed money to the March on Washington and advised all its branches to cooperate with local March committees to organize marchers, distribute March buttons and disseminate publicity. After a discussion about which position to take if the President did not issue an executive order, the Committee agreed, unanimously, to march.
Randolph permanently tried to ensure the legitimacy of the campaign by advocating against violence and anarchy. The black community divided over the wisdom and the efficacy of militant non-violent tactics. Although alerted in January that Randolph had suggested a black march on the Capital, the White House had been ignoring the March all spring and denying repeated requests from Walter White to discuss the exclusion of black workers from employment.
However, it could no longer deny the threat of a mass march, especially since Randolph had sent letters to President Roosevelt and other high government officials requesting them to address the marchers at the Lincoln Monument following the March. The idea that masses of blacks would be brought into one of the most segregated cities in the country shocked and frightened the white community. When Eleanor Roosevelt demanded to know how Randolph proposed to feed and house his black marchers, Randolph answered they would register in hotels and order dinner in restaurants.
This constituted a revolutionary challenge that could result in a race war in the capital. Granger, Frank R. Croft and A. Philip Randolph was requested to obtain churches and schools to feed the marchers at cost at the same time an image of black invasion of white Washington restaurants and hotels was conveyed to the dominant power structure.
The Committee had veto power over all slogans, banners and statements of purpose. It also reserved to itself the selection of battalion chiefs and deputy inspectors both at the point of assembly and throughout the line of March. The president asked them to stop the March in return for his personal promise for better treatment of blacks, but Randolph refused to do so without a tangible concession: an executive order forbidding racial discrimination in employment. Eventually, Randolph was offered a series of drafts for an executive order, drafts which he would have to consider and eventually approve.
Randolph eventually approved a draft and Executive Order , which banned employment discrimination in the defense industry and in the government, was signed on June Addressing the many voices claiming that he had settled for too little, he wrote in the Black Worker that the primary objective of the march was to gain jobs for unemployed black workers in defense industries and that the March was not an end in itself, but a means to a larger end and, as such, it had a simple, clearly defined objective.