Railroads Change Florida
Teacher’s Guide for A. Philip Randolph

Background Information

Asa Philip Randolph (1889-1979), the first president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, was born in Crescent City, Florida, and grew up in Jacksonville. The son of a Methodist minister, he attended the City College of New York and later published The Messenger, a political and literary magazine.

The membership of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters included the African-American porters and maids who worked on the railway trains. As a result of Randolph's efforts, the 1937 contract between the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and the Pullman Company cut working hours, increased pay, and improved working conditions. Randolph was also a major factor in ending discrimination in defense plants and segregation in the U.S. military.

Randolph helped initiate and direct the March on Washington in 1963– the largest civil rights demonstration in American history. Randolph first called for a demonstration at the U.S. Capitol in 1941 to protest employment discrimination. He played an instrumental role in the months leading up to the 1963 demonstration as the elder statesman of the “Big Six,” which included Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders from the largest civil rights organizations in the U.S. Randolph helped unite the various groups behind the common message of jobs and freedom.

Some Useful Questions to Ask:

  • Who were the members of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters?
  • How was A. Philip Randolph connected to the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters?
  • What role did A. Philip Randolph play in Florida?
  • What role did A. Philip Randolph play in the nation?

Use to Illustrate:

  • A. Philip Randolph's contributions to Florida.

Document Analysis Worksheets
Created by the National Archives

Document analysis is the first step in working with primary sources. Teach your students to think through primary source documents for contextual understanding and to extract information to make informed judgments. The document analysis worksheets created by the National Archives and Records Administration are in the public domain.

Sunshine State Standards

  • SS.4.A.1.1: Analyze primary and secondary resources to identify significant individuals and events throughout Florida history.
  • SS.4.A.6.1: Describe the economic development of Florida's major industries.
    Examples are timber, citrus, cattle, tourism, phosphate, cigar.
  • SS.4.A.6.3: Describe the contributions of significant individuals to Florida.
    Examples are John Gorrie, Henry Flagler, Henry Plant, Lue Gim Gong, Vincente Martinez Ybor, Julia Tuttle, Mary McLeod Bethune, Thomas Alva Edison, James Weldon Johnson, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.
  • SS.5.A.1.1: Use primary and secondary sources to understand history.
  • SS.5.A.6.3: Examine 19th century advancements (canals, roads, steamboats, flat boats, overland wagons, Pony Express, railroads) in transportation and communication.
  • SS.8.A.1.5: Identify, within both primary and secondary sources, the author, audience, format, and purpose of significant historical documents.
  • SS.8.A.4.5: Explain the causes, course, and consequences of the 19th century transportation revolution on the growth of the nation's economy.
    Examples may include, but are not limited to, roads, canals, bridges, steamboats, railroads.
  • SS.912.A.1.1: Describe the importance of historiography, which includes how historical knowledge is obtained and transmitted, when interpreting events in history.
  • SS.912.A.1.2: Utilize a variety of primary and secondary sources to identify author, historical significance, audience, and authenticity to understand a historical period.
  • SS.912.A.3.4: Determine how the development of steel, oil, transportation, communication, and business practices affected the United States economy.
    Examples may include, but are not limited to, railroads, the telegraph, pools, holding companies, trusts, corporations, contributed to westward expansion, expansion of trade and development of new industries, vertical and horizontal integration.
  • SS.912.A.3.13: Examine key events and key people in Florida history as they relate to United States history.
    Examples are the railroad industry; bridge construction in the Florida Keys; the cattle industry; the cigar industry; the influence of Cuban, Greek and Italian immigrants; Henry B. Plant; William Chipley; Henry Flagler; George Proctor; Thomas DeSaille Tucker; Hamilton Disston.

Florida Standards

  • LAFS.4.RI.1.1: Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  • LAFS.4.RI.1.2: Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.
  • LAFS.K12.R.1.1: Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • LAFS.68.RH.1.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
  • LAFS.68.RH.1.2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
  • LAFS.910.RH.1.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
  • LAFS.910.RH.1.2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
  • LAFS.1112.RH.1.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.