Petition to Rename Union Station to Honor A. Philip Randolph

Photo by PoPville flickr user ianseanlivingston

From an email:

“A. Philip Randolph was a civil rights leaders, labor organizer, and President of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters – bargaining for better wages and improved working conditions. Honoring Mr. Randolph will continue the trend of renaming major national transportation facilities to recognize great American Leaders. The A. Philip Randolph Union Station will provide an opportunity to educate all youth – especially African-American youth – on his contributions. A. Philip Randolph has several accolades, included being an inductee in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Labor Hall of Honor.

Personally, I am a native Washingtonian who grew up in the 1960’s and 1970’s, attended the 1963 March on Washington, witnessed the 1968 riots, and truly participated and witnessed the “re-building” of Washington, D.C. I believe renaming Union Station to honor A. Philip Randolph is a moral, social, and historical imperative.

If you support this effort, please click on the link and sign our petition. And please pass this along to your friends and family.”

82 Comment

  • Is there a statue of this guy somewhere in the station? Name rings a bell…

  • No disrespect intended, but I have a different opinion. I like union station the way it is. it is an American icon, you can say “union station” to anyone and they know you mean DC, and where it is in general. To re-name it would take away from those who designed it, built it, fought for it and renovated it to bring it back to life,

    Perhaps you could look into having the new soccer stadium, or DC Gvt. buildings named after the person you admire?

    • I agree with you completely.

    • Off the top of my head there are Union Stations in DC, Chicago, LA, Kansas City, and Denver. “Union Station” doesn’t necessarily imply DC, it just means that at least two different railroads served the depot when it was built.

      • Yes, I nearly ruined Christmas last year by accidentally booking travel out of Union Station in Chicago instead of DC. I’ve lived in both cities and didn’t pay enough attention while reserving. I would love a more distinctive name!

        • Do you realize how foolish you sound? You are not the center

        • Yes, by all means let’s rename the 100+ year-old Union Station that has served well for millions and millions of people because Sarah is challenged by the process of booking a train ticket.

      • I agree: there are several different “union stations.” I don’t feel strongly either way about a name change, but these arguments are pretty weak.

      • Similar to how we have multiple “Penn” stations running up and down the East Coast.
        “Union” is not unique.

    • I also completely agree.

    • You’re so wrong on so many levels.

    • Uh, no. The only people I know who associate “union station” with DC are those who live (or perhaps have lived) here. I’ve lived in multiple cities that had a union station.

    • Yeah, lots of American cities have a Union Station….

  • Recently (in the past two months) there was a movement to name Union Station after President Truman; Eleanore Homes Norton signed on….

  • HELLS NO!!! I mean its not as bad as renaming our airport Reagan, but still, its union station and union station it should remain!!!!

  • I prefer it as plain Union Station, not named after anyone — not Truman, Asa Philip Randolph, or anyone else.

    • justinbc

      Seriously. We don’t need to go around just naming every building after someone who’s dead and won’t appreciate it anyway. If the person in question helped build the building in question, sure, but there are so many random things named posthumously after people with very little ties it loses significance.

      • I agree. Leave it alone.

        How about place the half statue in a more suitable spot or even commission a larger statue.

      • I completely agree! Although driving by the CIA and seeing the sign “Geroge Bush Center for Intellignce” still makes me chuckle every time. The irony….

      • ok but it’s obviously not about a dead person “appreciating” it, it’s about memorializing someone’s contribution to history, or culture.

        it sounds like we wouldn’t lose the “union station” aspect of the name, it would become like thurgood marshall BWI airport or ronald reagan national airport – you can still refer to these places as BWI or national, while also perhaps realizing you don’t know this person who the structure is named after, and looking them up and learning about them. (not actually recommended with reagan, but you get the point.)

      • The ties are huge. Randolph was president of the railway porters union, so intimatley connected with RR history. And important as perhaps the first black union president (the railway porters were an almost completely black union) and a leading civil rights activist as well.

        This is VERY appropriate.

  • A moral, social and historical imperative to rename the train station? C’mon.

  • I like the name Union Station.

  • I really don’t get why anyone wants to rename Union Station. It’s the busiest and best known station in DC. All you’re going to do is confuse people. Personally I would never call it anything other than Union Station even if the name was officially changed.

  • There’s also a Union Station in New Haven.

    • And there is a Union Station in Los Angeles. But honestly, after all the self-induced confusion brought on renaming National Airport for the Gipper, let’s not have another round.

  • I am not generally a fan of renaming things after dead people but this choice seems more appropriate than renaming National after Reagan.

  • If we are going to re-name this building could we least give it a proper name like “The A. Philip Randolph Union Station Train station “

  • Seriously, why do we have to name every building after someone? It becomes a political fight just like Reagan. Personally, I’d still prefer to call it National Airport. I was so relieved that the Nationals stadium didn’t get named after an elected official.

    I can’t wait for RFK to be torn down. It will be one less property named after a politician.

    Buildings should have a plaque with every tradesman’s name who built the place.

  • It’s fine the way it is, I don’t get why everything has to be named after someone. There are plenty of other ways to honor a person.

  • I predict the same sort of inelegant compromise that Gave us Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

  • when we build a new building and want a name, then i’ll sign.

  • Random survey on the topic of name changing. Who here has ever confused someone by referring to Reagan Airport as National?

    • justinbc

      The first time I came to DC I flew into Dulles. I told my girlfriend at the time that I had to be “at the airport” at X time to get back home, not realizing there were actually 2 airports for the area. So naturally as we’re driving out to Reagan I realize that it doesn’t really look familiar and inform her we’re going the wrong way. Proceed to mad rush to get to Dulles only to be met with the longest check in line I had ever seen (and even still to this day). Missed my flight, but luckily got one 4 hours later. Oh and it happened to be my birthday that day, hooray.

    • GiantSquid

      I’m going to predict that the bulk of any response you get will be “but I always call it National.” Most folks I’ve encountered are not fans of the Reagan moniker.

      • justinbc

        I pretty much always refer to it as Reagan, and sometimes DCA. It’s not like he’s Beetlejuice and invoking his name will summon him to your presence.

    • i only call it national. or dca.

    • I always call it “Reagan”

    • For lots of folks who have lived here for awhile, it will always be known as National. No confusion about that.

  • “Moral, social, and historical imperative.” Who was the self-entitled knucklehead who wrote this?

  • I agree with above comments re keeping Union Station – it’s a landmark within dc and a name that everyone here has known for generations. How about the A. Philip Randolph hall within Union Station?

    • I like this idea. Just as National Airport will always be “National” to me, I like the tradition of “Union Station”. At the same time, it would be great to honor A. Phillip Randolph, and Union Station would be the perfect place to do so. It would be nice if the petition offered a few more options. And it would have been REALLY nice if the hometown peeps had been consulted before renaming the airport.

  • skj84

    I’m for it. I don’t think people will use the name, but on a symbolic nature I think it’s a great idea.

  • In the last few years, NYC renamed two major bridges after dead politicians and it very confusing. If we are going to go through the confusion of renaming Union Station, then we should at least get some money from it. Sell the naming rights to the highest bidder.

  • We need to name a few buildings after women pioneers. Women anything.

  • It will just be the new “Garden District, formerly Standard.”

  • Swampoodle Station in honor of the displaced Irish community removed to build Union Station. They also labored on its construction.

  • No go on a name change. I don’t care how confused you may be about what city your in, this joint is Union Station

  • You ignorant folks obviously know nothing about the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, which is AMERICAN history. Why not rename the station after someone who sacrificed to establish fair working and pay conditions for train porters? Finally a naming that is actually relevant (unlike Reagan, named after a senile geezer who couldn’t fly a plane in his dreams)

  • Randolph Station has a great ring to it. A. Phillip Randolph was a great labor and civil rights leader. He planned the first March of Washington. I believe it was supposed to take place in the 40s. His history organizing the first labor union for black laborers (the Sleeping Car Porters) and his connection to train laborers makes the idea of re-naming Union Station after him seem particularly apt.

  • I would suggest another honorary and name – Vincent Orange. It could be called any of the following (please submit your own): The Honorable Vincent Orange Terminal of the Center of The Universe, The VO, VO, Vinny’s, Vinnie’s, La Naranja.

  • clevelanddave

    President Obama National Golf Course

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