2015 Winning Essay by Reiner Yabut

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Asa Philip Randolph

Asa Philip Randolph, a leader in the Civil Rights Movements, was born on April 15, 1889 and died on May 16, 1979.  Randolph was a leader and social activist who fought for the rights of African-American laborers, including better wages and better working conditions.  Randolph resigned from his more than 40-year tenure as president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in 1968, he suffered from a heart condition and high blood pressure.  He then moved from Harlem to New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood, and spent the next few years writing his autobiography until his health worsened, forcing him to stop writing.  A. Philip Randolph died in bed at his New York City home on May 16, 1979, at age 90.

He led the March on Washington Movement, it was designed to let African-Americans to work desegregating the armed forces, and it succeeded!  The march on Washington Movement convinced our president (Franklin D. Roosevelt) to issue Executive Order 8802 in 1941, banning discrimination in the defense industries during World War II.  He also led and organized the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.  He was fighting in the Civil Rights Movement because he was African American, for better wages, more jobs, and desegregating the armed forces!

In 1957, he organized a prayer pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. to draw attention to civil rights issues in the South, and began organizing the fist Youth March for Integrated Schools.  In 1963, Randolph was a principal organizer of the march on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, during which he would speak to a crowd of almost 250,000 supports.  After World War II, Randolph again took on the federal government  by organizing the League for Nonviolent Civil Disobedience Against military Segregation.  That group’s actions eventually led President Harry S. Truman to issue a 1948 executive order banning racial segregation in the U.S. Armed Forces.

In the 1940s, it says that Randolph used mass protest twice as a means of influencing the policies of the federal government.  Following the United States entrance into World War II, he organized the march on Washington to protest discrimination in the war industry workforce.  Randolph called off the march after President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order that banned racial discrimination on government defense factories and established the first Fair Employment Practices Committee.

Randolph had a big impact on the Civil Rights Movement. Also I chose Randolph because he went through a lot to help the African-Americans to have much better lives.  Randolph was not close friends with Martin Luther King Jr., but he still did good as a Civil Rights Movement Leader and had the same beliefs.  Today, because of leaders like him I am sitting in a classroom full of kids from different cultures who all have equal rights.

Submitted May 18, 2015