Week of April 15-21
1899—Asa Phillip Randolph, organizer of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, was born in Crescent City, Fla. Randolph brought the power of unionism to Black America. He also used his position as the nation’s number one Black union leader to become one of the major civil rights leaders of his era. More than anyone else, it was Randolph who organized the historic March on Washington during which Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech. Ironically, as a young man Randolph left Florida and moved to New York to become an actor. Instead, he became involved with the Socialist Party and helped develop a magazine known as The Messenger. The editorial slant of the magazine describes Randolph as “midway between the cautious elitism of the NAACP and the utopian populism of Marcus Garvey.” Randolph died May 16, 1979.
1922—Harold Washington, the first Black and 42nd mayor of Chicago, is born in Chicago.