To A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin, APRl's co-founders, the fight for workers' rights and civil rights were inseparable.
Randolph and Rustin forged an alliance between the civil rights movement and the labor movement. They recognized that blacks and working people of all colors share the same goals: political and social freedom and economic justice. This Black-Labor Alliance helped the civil rights movement achieve one of its greatest victories - passage of the Voting Rights Act, which removed the last remaining legal barriers to broad black political participation.
Inspired by this success, Randolph and Rustin founded A. Philip Randolph Institute in 1965 to continue the struggle for social, political and economic justice for all working Americans. APRI is an Organization of Black Trade Unionist to Fight for Racial Equality and Economic Justice.
Today, APRI is led by President Clayola Brown whose vision and energy has sparked a new beginning for our organization and for the movement as a whole.
Randolph (1889-1979) was the greatest black labor leader in American history and the father of the modern American civil rights movement. Rustin (1912-1987), a leading civil rights and labor activist and strategist, was the chief organizer of the historic 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and Randolph's greatest protege.
A. Philip Randolph
Throughout his active career as a labor leader and as a father of the civil rights movement, A. Phillip Randolph 'was guided by a dream for the building of a new society, in which people of all colors could live in freedom and in dignity. Randolph believed decent and well-payed jobs were the first step towards social and political freedom.
Philip Randolph brought the gospel of trade unionism to millions of African American households. The March on Washington movement and Randolph's call for civil disobedience to end segregation in the armed forces helped convince the next generation of civil rights activists that nonviolent protests and mass demonstrations were the best way to mobilize public pressure.
Randolph was, in this sense, the true "father of the civil rights movement" in the United States. Randolph was elected vice president of the newly merged AFL-CIO in 1955. He used his position to push for desegregation and respect for civil rights inside the labor movement as well as outside. He was one of the founders of the Negro American Labor Council and served as its president from 1960 to 1966. In 1964 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon Johnson.
Born April 15, 1889, A. Philip Randolph was instrumental in leading the civil rights movement in America. In one of many speeches on racial justice, Randolph ponders the question of how to right past wrongs. Learn More >>>
For more than 50 years, Bayard Rustin was a strategist and activist in the struggle for human rights and economic justice.Serving as its Race Relations Secretary, he toured the country conducting Race Relations Institutes designed to facilitate communication and understanding between racial groups. He was active in A. Philip Randolph’s March on Washington Movement, and became the first field secretary of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).
In 1942, the Fellowship of Reconciliation dispatched him to California and the American Friends Service Committee to help protect the property of Japanese-Americans held in detention. In 1943, Mr. Rustin was imprisoned in Lewis-burg Penitentiary as a conscientious objector. Combining non-violent resistance with organizational skills,
He was a key adviser to Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960’s. Though he was arrested several times for his own civil disobedience and open homosexuality, he continued to fight for equality. He died in New York on August 24, 1987.
Bayard Rustin received the Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2013, after the March on Washington's 50th anniversary.
The Life of Bayard Rustin." Five years in the making and the winner of more than 20 awards, "Brother Outsider" illuminates the life and work of Bayard Rustin, a visionary activist and strategist who has been called "the unknown hero" of the civil rights movement. A tireless crusader for justice, a disciple of Gandhi, a mentor to Martin Luther King Jr., and the architect of the legendary March on Washington, Rustin dared to live as an openly gay man during the fiercely homophobic 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s. For more info or to purchase the DVD visit WWW.RUTIN.ORG.