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Forgotten Hero Of The Civil Rights Movement

By Art van Bodegraven | 08/21/2016 | 8:38 AM

We have all seen video of Martin Luther King proclaiming "I have a dream… " We, for better or worse, recognize Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, John Lewis, Joseph Lowery, and other icons and leaders from the bad ol' days of Bull Connor and George Wallace. But, we mostly forget about A. Philip Randolph.

If we recognize the name, it is usually in the context of heading an early labor union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, who were locked in mortal combat with the Pullman Company and white travelers, who called all porters "George."

Randolph was a brilliant thinker, a great scholar, and a thoughtful leader, with a valise full of accomplishments achieved prior to the BSCP movement. Without him, there would have been no march on Washington, no venue for Dr. King's great speech, retarded integration into the military and government service, and no inclusion in the overall labor movement, with BSCP inclusion in the AFL-CIO.

There were, admittedly, sharp edges. Randolph studied the work of Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. DuBois. He was both a socialist and an atheist.

What does A. Philip Randolph have to do with supply chain management? We can take away a few tips.

The greatest is that we all have a responsibility to dare to think great, even impossible, things. We have an obligation to contemplate what needs to change, then work on tactics and techniques to begin to nudge them forward. Another is that, when another—a colleague or competitor−has a terrific idea and a strong plan, we do not have to agree with both him or her on all matters outside the main thrust. Keep our eyes on the prize, so to speak.

If we allow ourselves the freedom to think, it is amazing how we can benefit from the insights of atheistic socialists as they might apply to our own life and work perspectives.



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About Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven (1939 - 2017) was Managing Principal of the van Bodegraven Associates consultancy and Founding Principal of Discovery Executive Services, which develops and delivers supply chain educational programs. He was formerly Chair of the Supply Chain Group AG, Partner at The Progress Group LLC, Development Executive at CSCMP, Practice Leader with S4 Consulting, and a Managing Director in Coopers & Lybrand's consulting practice. Concentrating in supply chain management and logistics for over 20 years in his 50+ year business career, he has led ground-breaking strategic, operational, and educational projects for leading US and global clients. Art was principal co-author of DC Velocity's Basic Training monthly column for a decade, and was the principal co-author, with Ken Ackerman, of Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management, the definitive primer in the field. His popular blog, The Art of Art, has been a staple of DC Velocity's web site since its inception.


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