The brotherhood of sleeping car porters was a black labor organization led by Asa Phillip Randolph, who fought for their rights to live and work on an equal basis with white Americans. The brotherhood of sleeping car porters was a drive to organize the African American worker but in many aspects it was also a movement of civil rights. It was a movement for black workers to receive the same rights as their white counterparts. During this fierce time of unionism, African Americans were excluded from most unions and at the same time faced immense discrimination. The organization of the Pullman workers was a Segway to civil rights for those African American workers. Pullman workers did receive the same pay, worked in difficult conditions and were treated as second class citizenship.
In the African American community, porters were considered among the elite because they had steady employment. However, porters received little pay and all their money went to ...view middle of the document...
Randolph hastily accepted the offer of being chief organizer for the Pullman porters and the BSCP was formed. Randolph union movement was focused on educating the black men and restoring “George’s” manhood rights. The organizing campaign began in NYC in 1925 and then made plans to go to Chicago, the city with the largest population in the Pullman porters (Bates 40). In their efforts they befriended the black employees in Chicago and were able to organize a committee for the BSCP. Their organizing drive launched a social movement by holding the first Negro Labor Conference in January 1928 in Chicago. This conference laid the foundation for connecting a labor movement with a civil rights agenda.
The brotherhood of sleeping porters overtime became more than just a union organizing drive but became a civil movement. It became a civil movement with the help of Randolph who was an activist of the civil rights movement. Manhood rights included the right for economic opportunity and the right for American citizenship. One example of how the BSCP was a movement of civil rights labor rallies in the south pushing for equality and basic rights for the black men. From 1928 to 1933, between 2,000 and 3,000 people attended and participated each year in BSCP labor conferences for claiming basic rights of citizenship far into black neighborhoods in the south (Bates 104). An example of the BSCP acting as a civil movement was when Randolph and other organizers participated in the March on Washington to protest discrimination in the defense industries (Bates 148). Their participation in the March on Washington was for the equal treatment for African Americans.
The BSCP was a labor organizing drive and a civil movement for worker’s rights. This union travelled to different regions attempting and often succeeding in organizing various work groups. The BSCP also became involved in civil issues such as economic equality for African Americans, right to citizenship and the freedom from white supremacy. They became involved in protest and other forms of non-violent tactics to help the black community become equal to their white counterparts. These examples essentially prove that the BSCP is as much an organizing drive as a civil movement.