The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters was the fist African aMerican union to create a collective bargaining agreement with a U.S. corporation. Founded in 1925, this group of African-American men worked the sleeping cars of The Pullman Company’s trains. To lead their efforts, the union tapped Asa Phillip Randolph as it’s president. Randolph was not a worker for The Pullman Company, thus the union believed he could work without fear of retribution.
Mr. Randolph organized what was to be the first March on Washington in 1941. Randolph pressured the Roosevelt White house to end racial discrimination in unions ans employers, and to desegregate the armed forces. Unless President Roosevelt signed an executive order complete with the demands, Mr.Randolph had 100,000 protesters to march in the nation’s capitol. President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802 in June 1941, which ended discrimination in unions and those who have federal defense contracts. In 1947, Randolph organized black and white men to protest the draft, until President Truman desegregated to military. President Truman issued Executive Order 9981 to desegregate all branches of the military.
Randolph became an executive vice president of the AFL-CIO in 1955, continuing to work on behalf of all workers, and ending discrimination within the labor movement. I n 1963, Randolph organized the famous MArch on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Randolph’s attempted to highlight the plight of black and poor white workers in America. Randolph served as president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters fo 45 years, then in 1968, formed and presided over the A. Phillip Randolph Institute to promote black unioni=sm. He continued to work for workers’ rights with the AFL-CIO until 1974.