Friday, August 23, 2013

Amtrak Celebrates 50th Anniversary of March On Washington with Wreath-Laying Ceremony at Statue of Civil Rights Leader A. Philip Randolph Sun. Aug. 25

A. Philip Randolph


America’s Railroad hosting wreath-laying ceremony
at statue of Civil Rights Leader A. Philip Randolph

                August 25, 2013  WASHINGTON Amtrak is sponsoring a wreath-laying ceremony on Sunday at the A. Philip Randolph statue at Washington Union Station as part of activities for the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.
                The A. Philip Randolph Institute, a Washington, D.C., based organization that supports civil rights, anti-discrimination, progressive tax politics and universal, affordable healthcare, will host the event in the East Hall at 3:30 p.m. The ceremony will honor Randolph, who organized the first African-American union for Pullman Porters, and as a civil rights leader, who, along with others, organized the March on Washington.
                “As we pause to recognize the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, an important moment in history, we also remember Mr. Randolph’s passion for justice and economic freedom that inspired him to be the voice of the Pullman porters,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman. “Ultimately, his actions as a civil rights advocate helped to shape America's railroad system.”
                The Pullman Company, founded by George Pullman, manufactured railroad cars from the mid-1800s into the 20th Century and developed sleeping cars that bore the company’s name, Pullman cars. The Pullman Company hired African-Americans to work as porters on board their trains, and these porters became renowned for their outstanding service.  Pullman Porters, as they came to be known, were organized into the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters under the leadership of Randolph in 1925. The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters was the first labor union led by African-Americans to receive a charter in the American Federation of Labor.
                “We are extremely proud of the legacy of A. Philip Randolph. His passion for justice and economic freedom for all inspired him to lead a movement and encourage change for all people, including those working on trains,” said Clayola Brown, president of the A. Philip Randolph Institute.
                The statue of Randolph stands in his honor on the concourse of Washington Union Station. Amtrak named one of its sleeping cars, Superliner II Deluxe Sleeper 32503, the “A. Philip Randolph” in his honor.
                Passenger trains played a pivotal role in America’s history. During the Great Migration of the early 1900s, African Americans left the rural South aboard passenger trains to the Northeast and other regions of the country in search of better wages and job opportunities.

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