Director: Robert Townsend
Starring: André Braugher, Charles S. Dutton & Mario Van Peebles
Dramatic film inspired by the life of black organizer, A. Philip Randolph (Braugher), an early champion of the Civil Rights movement. From1925 to 1937, Randolph led the railway car porters’ bruising battle against the notoriously anti-union Pullman Company, one of the most powerful companies in the United States in the 1920’s. His efforts helped create the first black union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Charles S. Dutton portrays Webster, the union’s Chicago-based organizer.Mario Van Peebles plays Ashley Totten, one of the founding members of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.Philip Randolph (Braugher) was an ardent socialist and publisher of a struggling radical Harlem magazine called “The Messenger.” Because traditional trade unions such as the American Federation of Labor (AFL)had not yet invited the black working-class to join in the 1920’s, the black labor movement was initiated by the railway porters who worked on the sleeping cars for the Pullman company. Although they were proud of their profession, the porters were often humiliated and dismissed by the upper-class white passengers. They were grossly underpaid. In the eyes of the Pullman Company and many of their patrons alike, the porters were not seen as individuals and were simply referred to “George” after the owner of the railway company.
Originally broadcast on Showtime on February 24, 2002