A. Philip Randolph (1889 - 1979)
Randolph was the longtime head of the Brotherhood
of Sleeping Car Porters and an early black civil rights advocate.
A black ministers son, Randolph became
converted to socialism. In 1917 he and Chandler Owen started a radical black
magazine, The Messenger, which called World War
I a white mans war and urged blacks to refuse to fightin
contrast to W. E. B. Du Boiss support for the war effort and black
In the 1920s Randolph was considered a political
spokesman for the racially conscious new negro, who emerged
especially in Harlem and other northern ghettos. In 1925 Pullman porters,
who were the lowest-paid rail workers and were all patronizingly called George,
approached Randolph and asked him to head their union. In 1937 the brotherhood
finally won a contract.
Randolphs proposed March on Washington
in 1941 never occurred, but the idea remained alive in the black community,
and Randolph was one of the speakers at the 1963 March on Washington where
Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his I Have a Dream speech.
is an hour of crisis.To American Negroes, it is the denial of jobs in
government defense projects. It is racial discrimination in government departments.
It is widespread Jim-Crowism in the armed forces of the Nation.What
a runaround! What a disgrace! What a blow below the belt! (Call for
March on Washington, 1941)
REFERENCES: Paula Pfeffer, A.
Philip Randolph: Pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement (2001). William
Harris, Keeping the Faith: A. Philip Randolph, Milton
Webster, and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (1977).
Douglas MacArthur (1880 - 1964)
MacArthur was the American army commander in
the Pacific in World War II, the governor of occupied Japan, and the U.N.
commander who was fired by President Truman during the Korean War.
His father, Arthur MacArthur, was a famous American
officer in the Civil War, Spanish-American War, and Philippine War. Douglas
MacArthurs strong-arm tactics in ousting the Bonus Army
from Washington in 1932 made him a controversial figure, and he remained surrounded
by controversy for much of his career.
Although he is best known for saying I
shall return to the Philippines, MacArthurs greatest military
accomplishment in World War II was actually his difficult battles in New Guinea
and Los Negros.
MacArthur was virtually the absolute ruler of
Japan from 1945 to 1947, and many Japanese looked on him as a kind of white
emperor. Republicans several times approached MacArthur about running
for president, but he always refused. In public MacArthur was arrogant, egotistical,
and self-promoting, but in private he was more genial and easygoing.
I joined the Army, even before the turn of the century, it was the fulfillment
of all my boyish hopes and dreams.I still remember the refrain of one
of the most popular barrack ballads of that day, which proclaimed, most proudly,
that Old soldiers never die. They just fade away. And like the
old soldier of that ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away.
(Speech to Congress, 1951)
REFERENCES: William Manchester, American
Caesar (1978); Geoffrey Parrett. Old Soldiers Never
Die: The Life of Douglas MacArthur (1996).
George Patton (1885 - 1945)
Patton was the American tank commander of World
War II whose belligerent behavior and ideas made him a focus of controversy.
Descended from Revolutionary and Confederate
officers, Patton grew up captivated by tales of his ancestors heroic
military exploits. He was raised on his wealthy grandfathers California
estate and did not attend school until he was twelve years old.
Pattons tactical skill, especially in
the conquest of Sicily, earned great praise, but he was nearly fired from
his command when he slapped and browbeat two shell-shocked GIs in an army
hospital. Eisenhower reprimanded Patton but permitted him to remain at his
post, deciding that his military ability was necessary to the war.
After his spectacular tank breakthrough across
France, he entered Germany but became embroiled in further controversy when
he advocated that American forces continue on and fight the Russians and that
they use Nazi officials and soldiers to do so. Patton was an extreme personality,
known for his hysterical outbursts, his constant profanity, and his sentimentality.
love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash
of battle. America loves a winner. America will not tolerate a loser.
(Speech to his troops before D-Day, 1944)
REFERENCE: Martin Bluminson, Patton:
The Man Behind the Legend, 1888 - 1945 (1985).