Randolph moved to Harlem to become an actor after graduating from Cookman Institute. He held several jobs and later co-founded the Brotherhood of Labor to organize against impoverished conditions for waiters on a steamship where he worked.
In 1925, Randolph founded the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and served as its president. He also pushed the federal government to address racial discrimination in the war industry workforce and the U.S. Armed Forces.
Perhaps his most noted accomplishment was speaking at the March on Washington alongside Martin Luther King Jr. Randolph would later receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Lyndon B. Johnson for his dedication to labor and civil rights.
Randolph died on May 16, 1979, at age 90 in New York City.
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