The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

Randolph, A. Phillip, 1889-1979

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Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence

Dates of materials: 1966-1968

Volume: 6 item(s); 7 pg(s)

Scope and Content

The Committee of Conscience Against Apartheid was organized by the American committee on Africa in cooperation with the National Student Christian Federation. Students organizing this came from Union Theological Seminary, Jewish Theological Seminary, Columbia University and Barnard College. The plan was to divest for two New York banks: First National City and Chase Manhattan. Merton added his name as an endorser of the project and was featured on their letterhead (see 1966/11/14 letter). Merton also endorsed a position paper distributed in 1968 to be presented to elected representatives. Signing this letter to Merton, along with Randolph, was co-chair of the American Committee on Africa, the Unitarian minister Rev. Donald Szantho Harrington.


A. Philip Randolph was in the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement for African Americans, a socialist and union leader fighting for workers writes and equality. Born in Florida, he moved to Harlem in 1911 to get into theater. Enrolling at the City College of New York, he changed life plans and majored in politics and economics. Together with Columbia University student Chandler Owen, he founded the radical magazine, The Messenger, in 1917. He organized a union called the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in 1925, the Pullman Company being a major employer of African Americans. He was a supporter of non-violent means of protest and generally anti-war, fighting discrimination in the armed forces during the 1940's. During the 1950's and 1960's, he served as vice president of the AFL-CIO unions. Along with Bayard Rustin and Martin Luther King, Jr., he helped organize the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963. The following year, he was given a Presidential Medal of Freedom. (Source: "A. Philip Randolph." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 9 Feb 2006, 04:34 UTC. 15 Feb 2006, ‹›.)

Usage Guidelines and Restrictions

Related Information and Links

See also one published letter from Merton to Randolph in The Road to Joy, pp. 339-340.

Series List

This Record Sub-Group is not divided into Series and is arranged chronologically.

Container List

SeriesDateTypeTo/FromFirst LinesPubFull TextNotes
 1966/07/13 TLSto MertonI have accepted the chairmanship of the Committee of Conscience Against Apartheid, formed   
 1966/07/17 TL[c]from MertonMany thanks for your letter about the Committee of Conscience Against Apartheid and the interestingYes  
 1966/08/03 TLSto MertonThank you for your kind letter. I am delighted that you have agreed to become a sponsor of our   
 1966/11/14 (#01)TLSto MertonI am enclosing a draft of an open letter to the Presidents of Chase Manhattan and First National   
 1966/11/14 (#02)TL[d]to MertonDRAFT [-] Open Letter to the Presidents of First National City and Chase Manhattan Banks   
 1968/05/29 TALSto MertonWhen Senator Edward W. Brooke of Massachusetts told the Senate last April 29 that the United States  [handwritten note from Merton on letter suggesting that Merton sent his endorsement to the anti-Apartheid campaign, "OK June 3" / also signed by the other co-chair of the American Committee on Africa, Donald S. Harrington]

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