Atone time, Asa Philip Randolph (1889-1979) was a household name. As president ofthe all-black Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP), he was an embodimentof America's multifaceted radical tradition, a leading spokesman for BlackAmerica, and a potent symbol of trade unionism and civil rights agitation fornearly half a century. But with the dissolution of the BSCP in the 1970s, theassaults waged against organized labor in the 1980s, and the overall silencingof labor history in U.S. popular discourse, he has been largely forgotten amonglarge segments of the general public before whom he once loomed so large. Historians, however, have not only continued to focus on Randolph himself, buthis role (either direct, or via his legacy) in a wide range of social,political, cultural, and even religious milieu and movements. The authors of Reframing Randolph have taken Randolph's dusty portrait down fromthe wall to reexamine and reframe it, allowing scholars to regard him in new,and often competing, lights. This collection of essays gathers, for the veryfirst time, many genres of perspectives on Randolph. Featuring both establishedand emergent intellectual voices, this project seeks to avoid both hagiographyand blanket condemnation alike. The contributors represent the diverse waysthat historians have approached the importance of his long and complex careerin the main political, social, and cultural currents of twentieth-centuryAfrican American specifically, and twentieth-century U.S. history overall. Thecentral goal of Reframing Randolph isto achieve a combination of synthetic and critical reappraisal.
Labor, Black Freedom, and the Legacies of A. Philip Randolph