The A. Philip Randolph Social Justice, Law, and Economic Policy Institute at Edward Waters University hosted the inaugural A. Philip Randolph Day on April 15 at the James Weldon Johnson Library on campus. The date April 15 marks Mr. and Mrs. Randolph’s birthdays. The objective of the celebration was to educate the university and the public on the institute’s namesake.

The APRI Executive Director, Dr. TaKeia Anthony, opened the event by introducing the audience to the Institute and pouring libations in the Randolphs’ honor. The guest speakers were Junior Honors College student and SGA Vice President, Travales Woodard, who discussed Randolph’s early life in Jacksonville, Florida. He underscored his time as an Edward Waters College and Cookman Institute student before migrating to Harlem, NY, to begin his career as an activist. Dr. TaKeia Anthony enlightened the audience on Randolph’s wife, Lucille Campbell Green Randolph. After giving a brief overview of Mrs. Randolph’s early life in Virginia and her graduation from Howard University, Anthony emphasized Mrs. Randolph’s financial support of her husband’s activism through her cosmetology profession in Harlem. Dr. David Jamison, Edward Waters University Assistant Professor of History, discussed Randolph as the catalyst for the modern Civil Rights movement with the initial plans to March on Washington in the 1940s, prior to the 1963 march.

“It is extremely significant to educate the university and the public on the institute’s namesake, Asa Philip Randolph. It validates the social justice, law, and economic policy advocacy that the Institute contributes to the campus and the greater Jacksonville area. Moreover, it was the first in-person introduction of the institute to the university and the community,” noted Executive Director Dr. TaKeia Anthony.

Dr. Hyo Kyung Woo, Director of the Center for Undergraduate Research, stated in her comments during the question-and-answer section, “I enjoyed the program, I learned a lot. It was also important that you highlighted Mr. Randolph’s wife because the women’s contribution is often lost in history, but she was so influential in his story.”

Several students commented that they were unaware that A. Philip Randolph planned the first March on Washington, and it did not occur because of his successful negotiations to desegregate the armed forces.

The event was a collaboration between APRI and the EWU Library. Ms. Brenda Harrell, Director of Libraries at EWU, secured the space for the event and curated an A. Philip Randolph exhibit for the audience. The exhibit will be available for preview until the end of the month. Additionally, there is a permanent A. Philip Randolph exhibition in the JWJ Library that is courtesy of former Florida Senator Anthony “Tony” Hill (D).

Some of the community visitors who attended the event were Executive Board members of the James Weldon Johnson Branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), APRI-Jacksonville chapter’s first president Marsha Dean Phelts, and former Florida Senator Anthony “Tony” Hill (D). Along with the informative presentations, the audience enjoyed cookies while celebrating the birthdays of Mr. and Mrs. Randolph.