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David H. Anthony

Pullman porter, labor leader, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) functionary, political organizer, and Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC) panelist, was born in Clarksville, Tennessee, in 1887, two years after the birth of Asa Philip Randolph, the visionary, charismatic, intellectual founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. As the first vice president of the BSCP, his public profile is linked to that of Randolph, the BSCP, and the struggle for civil rights.

Webster went to Chicago as a working youth; there he became a porter on the railroad. By 1925 he was serving as a bailiff in Cook County and a ward leader who established strategic ties to the black Republican establishment. His work and political associations soon proved decisive.

Webster's reach extended to the powerful black Republican politician Oscar De Priest as well as to present and past porters who respected him for ...