At one time, Asa Philip Randolph (1889-1979) was a household name. As president of the all-black Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP), he was an embodiment of America's multifaceted radical tradition, a leading spokesman for Black America, and a potent symbol of trade unionism and civil rights agitation for nearly half a century. But with the dissolution of the BSCP in the 1970s, the assaults waged against organized labor in the 1980s, and the overall silencing of labor history in U.S. popular discourse, he has been largely forgotten among large segments of the general public before whom he once loomed so large. Historians, however, have not only continued to focus on Randolph himself, but his role (either direct, or via his legacy) in a wide range of social, political, cultural, and even religious milieu and movements.
The authors ofReframing Randolphhave taken Randolph's dusty portrait down from the wall to reexamine and reframe it, allowing scholars to regard him in new, and often competing, lights. This collection of essays gathers, for the very first time, many genres of perspectives on Randolph. Featuring both established and emergent intellectual voices, this project seeks to avoid both hagiography and blanket condemnation alike. The contributors represent the diverse ways that historians have approached the importance of his long and complex career in the main political, social, and cultural currents of twentieth-century African American specifically, and twentieth-century U.S. history overall. The central goal ofReframing Randolphis to achieve a combination of synthetic and critical reappraisal.
Subjects: History, Sociology, Political Science
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