A. Philip Randolph was a visionary Labor organizer who brought the gospel of trade unionism to millions of African American households. In 1925, he founded the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters to fight for train porters and maids who worked for the Pullman Co.
Despite Pullman’s attempts to destroy the all-Black union, Randolph and his fellow union members eventually won their first major contract in 1937.
“At the banquet table of nature, there are no reserved seats,” he said. “You get what you can take, and you keep what you can hold. If you can’t take anything, you won’t get anything, and if you can’t hold anything, you won’t keep anything. And you can’t take anything without organization.”
He went on to become vice president of the AFL-CIO after it merged in 1955 and helped lead the campaign to end segregation in the armed forces.
Read more about his life’s work at aflcio.org/about/history/labor-history-people/asa-philip-randolph.