A. Philip Randolph was the first president of the BSCP, serving in that position from 1925 through 1968, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the highest civilian honor awarded in the United States) in 1964 from President Lyndon Johnson. Randolph was born in 1889, in Florida, and died in 1979 in New York City, aged 90. See more »
[last tile cards]
On August 25th, 1937 the Pullman Company signed the first ever agreement between a union of black workers and a major American corporation. It was twelve years - to the day - of the founding of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.
For the next four decades Randolph carried forward his fight for equality. In 1963, commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Randolph initiated the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It was at that gathering ...
See more »
Watching a film like 10,000 Black Men Named George makes me regret that I do not have Showtime on my cable package. This film covers a portion of the life A. Philip Randolph up to the time he gained recognition from the Pullman company as its union for collective bargaining and registered it as such with the newly formed National Labor Relations Board during the New Deal. It may be said that Randolph was the one who was responsible for the wedding of organized labor to the civil rights movement. That was a contribution both singular and unique.
Andre Braugher produced as well as starred in this Paramount film for the Showtime network. His is a powerful performance of a man with a cause that would not quit. Charles Dutton and Mario Van Peebles play a pair of his organizing associates who come from different mindsets, but Randolph makes them effective organizers.
Kenneth MacGregor makes a frightening villain, a composite I'm sure of several in the management of the Pullman company which never had a great record with labor relations. Back in the day George Pullman who was a Republican party stalwart and associate in the day of Abraham Lincoln thought he was doing a great thing for newly freed slaves by offering them jobs at coolie wages as Pullman porters. At the time I'm sure that beat the zero wages and substandard room and board you got as a slave. But people generally have ambitions to better themselves. A point of view that oppressors without exception fail to grasp. And then they yell Socialist, Communist, whatever buzz word epithet is popular at the moment. Randolph in fact was a Socialist because Socialists and Communists were the only ones he saw addressing the needs of his people.
There is a touching performance by Brock Peters who nearly brings the organizing to a halt with his activities. His is the touching view of the newly freed slave who just wants to hang on to what he has or the Man will take it away. I'm sure many may have felt as he did.
Randolph lived long enough to be an integral part of the famous March on Washington from 1963. His emphasis was always on economics. Freedom is fine in the abstract, but without a chance at a living wage it really means nothing but freedom to starve wherever you are.
I can't recommend this film highly enough for young people who are interested in the civil rights era. The story of A. Philip Randolph and his work is essential to understand how civil rights came about.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?