Pullman Porters get their long due recognition

May 9th, 2009 - 8:13 pm ICT by GD  

The long unsung Pullman Porters are finally getting the recognition that that has been long overdue to them. They had to do physical labor, work for long hours, and got meager pay for their work. They worked on the railroads of America and their situation was instrumental in paving the way for American Civil Rights Movement.

The few surviving Pullman Porters are going to be honored on Saturday, which is National Train Day. These men are in their 80s and 90s. The ceremony will be held at the historic 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. Oakland, Chicago and Washington have seen similar ceremonies earlier.

The national advertising director of Amtrack, Darlene Abubakar, said that these men had done their jobs with incredible dedication and the event is intended to give them recognition and celebrate their stories.

The Philadelphia event is expected to be attended by at least four people. However, many more Pullman Porters may still be alive.

Lyn Hughes, the founder of the A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum(which is in Chicago) said that not only were the Pullman porters role models for the people of their community, they had significant contribution in altering inter-racial relations in America. At one point of time, these men were the only representatives of the African-American, and by their manner, character and dress, all of which was dignified, they made a favorable impression on the people.

The early Pullman porters were all former slaves. They were hired after the Civil War, hired after the Civil War, were former slaves. Numbering a massive 20,000, they were the largest group of African-American men employed in USA in the first part of the twentieth century. In 1920, the Pullman Porters founded the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, under the leadership of A. Philip Randolph, a civil rights activist.

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