Robert C. Hayden, history professor at Northeastern University and President of RCH Associates, interviewed thirty-two retired Boston African American railroad workers over a period of two years as background research for a special permanent exhibition. “The Knights of the Rail” exhibition was dedicated in 1991 at the MBTA Back Bay Station. It commemorates A. Philip Randolph and Boston’s African American railroad workers. James R. Green, the donor of the collection, served as the researcher and author of the exhibition text.
A. Philip Randolph, the African American labor and civil rights leader, organized the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters between 1925 and 1937. The union was the first successful Black union in America. Randolph served as its president until his retirement in 1968. He also served as Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO and helped organize the 1963 March on Washington.
This collection consists of typed transcripts of twenty-seven of the oral history interviews conducted as background research by Robert Hayden. The transcripts appear to be first drafts. Some drafts indicate the date of the interview; they appear to have been conducted primarily in 1988 and 1989. One transcript is for an interview in 1977 with Francena Robertson which appears to be earlier research on the topic.
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