Why Was He Considered The Most ‘Dangerous Negro In America?’

a philip randolph seated behind microphones
Tremain Prioleau II
September 6, 2023

Asa Philip Randolph began his interest in collective politics by studying the socialist perspective. He believed that taking down capitalism was the only true way to achieve racial justice. This brought his attention to union organizing.

Randolph eventually founded the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, which became the first Black labor union by 1937. The Porters organized around increasing wages and benefits for Black porters on pullman cars around the country.

Just a short time after, Randolph became one of the main brokers of the 1941 March on Washington that protested segregation in the defense industry. The threat of 100,000 Black people marching on Washington forced President Franklin Roosevelt to sign into law the Fair Employment Practices Commission to help prevent against discrimination in defense and government jobs.

Years later, Randolph supported the vision of then young Pastor Martin Luther King Jr.  to march on Washington again in 1963. Randolph was the lead planner of the monumental march.

Randolph always found a way to successfully rally people, and its because of this the government labeled him “the most dangerous negro in America.” He relentlessly worked to bring Black people together to fight for better outcomes – he knew our superpower is collective action.

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