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May 3, 2024 10 mins

Vanessa Tyler discusses the legacy of A. Philip Randolph and his work with labor unions during the civil rights movement, as a statue is unveiled in his honor.

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
One, two three.

Speaker 2 (00:07):
Just unveiled a life sized statue of the man in
the center of our history of the black labor and
civil rights movement, a Philip Randolph, big tall bronze and
standing forever in Blackland and now as a brown person,
he just feel so invisible.

Speaker 3 (00:25):
Where we're from, brothers and sisters.

Speaker 4 (00:29):
I'll welcome you to this joyful today, and we celebrate freedom.

Speaker 3 (00:32):
Where we are, I know someone's heard something.

Speaker 2 (00:37):
And where we're going. We the people means all the people.

Speaker 3 (00:41):
The Black Information Network presents Blackland with your host Vanessa Tyler.

Speaker 2 (00:48):
The other day, a United Auto Workers contract being called historic.
The workers at the Volkswagen plant and Chattanooga, Tennessee are
about to get the results of a union vote.

Speaker 4 (01:00):
It pass.

Speaker 2 (01:00):
It didn't before, failed in twenty fourteen and twenty nineteen,
but what about twenty twenty four The numbers are in.
It's a yes. Overwhelmingly, seventy three percent voted to join
a UAW, the first foreign automaker assembly plant in the

(01:23):
South to unionize in decades. The United Auto Workers plan
to go to other Southern plants to unionize workers, like
the Mercedes Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. UAW President Sean Fain,
who is white, told these hard workers, so many of
them black, at this Chattanooga plant, something they all know

(01:44):
to be true from their own faith. As black people
pushing to make it through a Bible quote, many relied
on Uie.

Speaker 5 (01:52):
I tell you, if you have faith, Yeah, as small
as a muskets.

Speaker 6 (01:57):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (01:59):
You could say this Montain.

Speaker 2 (02:08):
But way before twenty twenty four. More like in the
nineteen twenties, ASA Philip Randolph fought to get black workers unionized,
the sleeping car porters, the stately men working so hard
for the Pullman company. The late Congressman John Lewis once
spoke of what a great man a Philip Randolph was.

Speaker 7 (02:31):
A Philip Randolph dispress of a man. The dean Black
leadership spoke up and he said, in his baritone voice,
mister President, the Black masses are restlesses, and we're going
to march on Washington.

Speaker 2 (02:45):
And that they did. That's when the rest of America
came to know him. Leader behind and one of the
creators of the iconic March on Washington. In nineteen sixty three,
Doctor Martin Luther King Junior, who gave his dream speech,
may have been the keynote, but a Philip Brandoff warmed
up the crowd.

Speaker 1 (03:05):
Fellow Americans, we are gathered here in the largest demonstration
in the history of this nation. Let the nation and
the world know the meaning of our numbers. We are
not a pressure group. We are not an organization or

(03:27):
a group of organizations. We are not a mob. We
are the advanced god of a massive moral revolution for
jobs and freedom. This revolution referberates throughout the land, touching
every city, every town, every village where black men are

(03:49):
segregated or pressed and exploited. But this civil rights revolution
is not confined to the negro nor is it confined
civil rights for our white allies know that they cannot
be free while we are not, and we know that
we have no future in a society in which six

(04:12):
million black and white people are unemployed and millions more
living poverty.

Speaker 2 (04:19):
His words so powerful and so impressed. Gerald Owens, Jerry
as most people call him, told me it stayed with
him for decades.

Speaker 6 (04:28):
The March of Washington that's where I first heard of
a Philip Roundaw.

Speaker 2 (04:34):
You actually saw him, Yeah, I saw him.

Speaker 6 (04:36):
I didn't get a chance to get close to him,
but I did see him. I did see that was
when Martin that the King made the speech. That's what
turned my whole life around.

Speaker 2 (04:46):
Jerry Owens union man himself as a retired worker of
the International Longshoreman's Association, is also the president of the A.
Phillip Randolph Institute Essex County, New Jersey Chapter and on
a A. Philip Randolph's one hundred and thirty fifth birthday
on April fifteenth, a dream come true. Jerry worked for

(05:07):
years to get it done. Finally, a statue to honor A.
Philip Randolph was about to be unveiled in New Jersey.
The incredible life sized seven foot bronze statue created by
African American sculptor Sterling Brown.

Speaker 8 (05:22):
I'm glad that it's finally getting the spotlight our rich
history and it's way past through and now that there's
a seven foot statue of a Philip Randolph at Penn Station,
you know, I think two point five million people come
through Penn Station will get an opportunity to read about
the pullman porters and see a Philip Randolph.

Speaker 2 (05:41):
The statue of A Philip Randolph, along with tributes to
the Sleeping car porters, now are appropriately enough outside Penn
Station in Newark, New Jersey, a major hub of transportation
for people going into New York City or anywhere along
the East coast. Newark Mayor Rosbarock spoke before the unveiling,

(06:01):
the black mayor proud to have the statue of a
black man in his city.

Speaker 7 (06:06):
It is a beautiful day.

Speaker 5 (06:07):
I just want to thank God first for such a
beautiful day on a Philip Randolph's birthday, That's for sure.
I think it is fitting that we're out here today.
You can see all the things that are happening in
our city, the investment, the federal and state investment in
Penn Station, the changing of gateway, to billions of dollars
of construction that's going on in the downtown area. None

(06:28):
of this is possible without labor. None of this can
happen without labor, unions and workers. And a Philip Randolph
probably epitomizes what labor is for us, especially black and
brown people in this country. And I just want to
thank Jerry more than anybody where in the day. Stayed

(06:52):
on this thing like no other. Every time I saw
him anywhere, he mentioned that a Philip randulf'stat.

Speaker 7 (06:59):
Over and over and over again.

Speaker 5 (07:00):
Brother, we got to make this happen, and I know
he's ecstatic that this is happening obviously as partner Herban
here as well making this possible. Shout out to all
labor unions and labor leaders that are here today. Shout
out to A Philip Randolph who's here with us in
spirit and the brotherhood of Sleeping car porters and maids.

(07:26):
One of the first African American labor unions this country
has seen because we were not allowed in labor unions.
As a matter of fact, there were a lot of
doctors and lawyers and accountants that worked as porters on
those trains because they couldn't get employed as doctors, lawyers,
and accountants. So some of the most prestigious jobs that

(07:49):
we had in our community was working on the trains, right,
being porters and maids. So thank God for a Philip
Randolph and thank God for labor ceremony.

Speaker 2 (08:00):
In New Jersey, the national President of the A. Philip
Randolph Institute, Cleola Brown, came in from Washington, DC. The
national Institute started by A. Philip Randolph and his partner
in the trenches, Bayard Ruston. The Institute in Washington continues
the work of racial equality and justice for blacks and
the trade unions and all working Americans. Miss Brown made

(08:24):
sure we acknowledged behind every great man, there's a woman.

Speaker 3 (08:28):
To all of you who was standing here in this celebration,
I say to you, you make us all feel so
very proud. Mister Randolph had a wife named Lucille. Lucille
was the one that was frying hair because she was
a hairdresser, serving dinners, because that was a part of
what she did through the church, talking to the sisters

(08:49):
to create the auxiliary to help those sleeping car port
of families when their husbands and brothers and everybody else
had to go out for weeks not days to take
care of their visits. So to sister Lucille, we say
to you, thank you for standing by your man, sister,
and thank you for allowing him to do those things
that he has done for the nation. This day, I

(09:10):
am so very proud to stand here as the first
female president of the A. Philip Randolph Institute. To all
of you who gave homage as well as respect and
dignity to the process, we say thank you for recognizing
our leader, ghost, present and past, and making this huge

(09:33):
piece happen.

Speaker 2 (09:36):
A countdown to the unveiling came with a prayer.

Speaker 4 (09:40):
Well, prittiness statue in any ground, not acknowledging what you
did in A Philip Randolph's life. We thank you that
he stood with the likes of a reverend doctor Martin
Luther King, a man or had the same brains and
values to ensure that our people will succeed. So on today,
as we stand on today, as we lift the covering
off of the veil of the statue, on today, as

(10:03):
the street gets renamed, on today, when we leave from
this place, well, let someone know that there is a
statue that represents you and represents me, and the name
is A Stip Randolph. We give you the phase right now.
Let everyone who lives the Newark, everyone who has a
reason to say thank you, say amen, Amen, Amen, one, two, three, Like.

Speaker 2 (10:34):
And subscribe Blackland. Listen on the iHeartRadio app or wherever
you get your podcasts. I'm Vanessa Tyler with a new
episode next week.
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