An eloquent spokesperson for civil rights and minority labor, the influence of A. Phillip Randolph (1889-1979) resonated across the 20th century. He started his public career as a magazine editor but his views on labor quickly drew him into union organizing. He demonstrated his skills to the nation when, after 10 years of struggle, he achieved the first union contract signed by a white employee and an African-American leader for the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. His influence initiated Presidents Roosevelt and Truman to ban discrimination in the civilian defense industry and the armed services. In 1963, Randolph organized the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom." This march became a touchstone for the Civil Rights Era after Martin Luther King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech to the 250,000 participants.
This stamp is part of the Black Heritage Stamp Series. Initiated in 1978, the USPS continues to issue a stamp featuring a notable Black American every February in conjunction with Black History Month and at other times during the year.