“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

A. Philip Randolph Square

.074 Acre

A. Philip Randolph Square Marker image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, May 30, 2017
1. A. Philip Randolph Square Marker
Inscription. "The idea of separatism is harkening to the past and it is undesirable even if it could be realized, because the progress of mankind has been based upon ... social, intellectual and cultural contact." —A. Philip Randolph, 1969

Asa Philip Randolph (1889-1979), labor and civil rights leader, was born in Crescent City, Florida on April 15,1889. After graduating from the Cookman Institute in Jacksonville, Randolph continued his education at City College, which he began attending shortly after he moved to New York in 1911. In 1917 Randolph and Chandler Owen founded the Messenger, a radical monthly publication that urged black industrial workers to unionize. In 1925 the sleeping-car porters of the Pullman Railroad Company, drawn to Randolph's militant stance on labor and race issues, asked him to organize a union.

After ten years of negotiations, the managers of the Pullman Company met Randolph's demands. They granted $2 million in wage increases and officially recognized the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first black union in the country.

Randolph successfully pressured President Roosevelt to issue the historic Executive Order 8802 on July 31, 1941 which banned discrimination in the defense industry and led to the establishment of the Fair Employment Practice Commission. In 1955 the veteran
A. Philip Randolph Square Marker image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, May 30, 2017
2. A. Philip Randolph Square Marker
The marker is visible here, mounted to the fence, with part of the square visible in the background.
labor leader became the first black vice-president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). On August 28, 1963, Randolph and Bayard Rustin directed the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, during which civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. In 1965, they founded the A. Philip Randolph Institute to strengthen ties between labor and civil rights organizations.

This site was acquired by the City in 1896. It formerly contained one of the many brownstone milestone markers, c. 1769, that denoted the distance of various sites from City Hall. The area was named Dewey Square by the Board of Aldermen in 1922 for Admiral George B. Dewey (1837-1917), a naval hero of the Spanish American War, for whom the promenade in Battery Park along New York Harbor is named. Dewey Square also provided the inspiration for and title of a 1947 song by saxophonist Charlie Parker, who lived in the area at the time.

The area was renamed for A. Philip Randolph in 1964 by the City Council, under a local law introduced by Council Member J. Raymond Jones and signed by Mayor John V. Lindsay.
Erected by New York City Parks & Recreation.
Location. 40° 48.224′ N, 73° 57.144′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker is at the intersection of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and West 116th Street, on the right when traveling south on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10026, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Houdini (approx. ¼ mile away); Swing Low: Harriet Tubman Memorial (approx. 0.3 miles away); Carl Schurz Monument (approx. 0.4 miles away); Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (approx. 0.4 miles away); Oscar J. Hijuelos (approx. half a mile away); New York City Defenses During the War of 1812 (approx. half a mile away); A View From the Road (approx. half a mile away); West Side Movers (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
Also see . . .  A. Philip Randolph Square ( A. Philip Randolph was a trailblazing leader, organizer and social activist who championed equitable labor rights for African-American communities during the 20th century. (Submitted on July 10, 2017.) 
Categories. African AmericansCivil RightsLabor Unions
Credits. This page was last revised on July 10, 2017. This page originally submitted on July 10, 2017, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 107 times since then and 49 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 10, 2017, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.
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