Prominent US statue of Philip Randolph – #2 in a journey through African American history



This is the second of my posts based on a recent tour of the eastern half of the USA. I visited a number of sites relevant to African American history. To mark Black History Month, I am relating some of the things I saw, in the order I saw them.

Back Bay metro station in Boston, Massachusetts, is a very prominent and large underground railway station, serving a particular busy and affluent part of the city.

As I moved through it, I couldn’t help noticing that the passenger transit area is dominated by a very large statue of a man (photo above). There were several panels explaining the statue, with much praise for its subject, A. Philip Randolph.

One panel read:

On October 8, 1988, a group of retired Pullman car porters and dining car waiters gathered in Boston’s Back Bay Station for the unveiling of a larger-than-life statue of A. Philip Randolph. During the 1920s and 1930s, Randolph was a pioneering black labor leader who led the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. He came to be considered the “father of the modern civil rights movement” as a result of his efforts to desegregate World War II defense jobs and the military services. Randolph’s importance as a militant leader is highlighted by a quote inscribed on the base of the statue which reads, in part: “Freedom is never granted; it is won. Justice is never given; it is exacted.”

Mr Randolph originally envisioned, with others, a “March on Washington” in 1941 to, as Wikipedia puts it, “protest racial discrimination in war industries, an end to segregation, access to defense employment, the proposal of an anti-lynching law and of the desegregation of the American Armed forces.” Due to action by President Roosevelt at that time, the march was postponed. It came to fruition in 1963, when A.Philip Randolph organised the famous “March on Washington for jobs and freedom” attracting 200,000-300,000 to the nation’s capital and featuring Dr Martin Luther King Junior’s famous “I have a dream” speech.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is currently taking a break from his role as one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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2 Comments

  • Lorenzo Cherin 3rd Oct '17 - 12:28am

    Paul

    I am really very in awe of the sorts of things you are seeing and saying.

    As someone who married a wife originally from America , I am always keen to learn and discover more.

    As someone who always had a love for the varied culture there and who is developing a musical I have written based on a great novel with an African American theme ans setting , I welcome all the more that you are putting these articles on here and that can engage thus.

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