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A. Philip Randolph, organizer of Washington march, has Jacksonville ties

6:47 PM, Aug 28, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Asa Philip Randolph is credited with being the organizer of the famous March on Washington, but very few are familiar with his name.

"I have never of A. Philip Randolph," said Essenx Morris. Morris is a tenth grader at Frank H. Peterson Academy. 

And she is not the only one. But the same history that recorded his contribution is now giving Randolph well-deserved attention.

"I bet you didn't know about the things that occurred," said teacher Karen Chester.

On the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, Chester gathered a number of Frank H. Peterson Academy students to test their knowledge of what happened that hot August day.

"I didn't know there were that many guest speakers and that he would be the last to speak," said Brennan Wolfe.

It gave them a better understanding of the day that changed America and those behind the famous march for jobs and freedom.

"I now know that he (Randolph) organized the march," said Sebastian Aristizabal, "I did not know that before today.

Randolph was born in Crescent City, Florida. The son of an A.M.E. Minister, in 1891, his family moved to Jacksonville to be part of a well-established African-American community.

Edward Waters College currently houses a permanent exhibit on the life and accomplishments of Randolph.

"It means a tremendous amount for our students to be able to share in that part of history," said Wanda Willis.

Randolph was not successful in politics, but he found success in the labor movement.

He organized and led the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first predominantly black labor union.

In 1974, President Lyndon B Johnson presented Randolph the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In 1970, Randolph was named Humanist of the year.

Dr. King rightly deserves credit for a speech that would open the doors to many civil rights victories, but it is hard to underestimate the importance of Randolph's contributions to what happened August 28, 1963.

First Coast News

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