Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The start of the black middle class?

This review of a book on Pullman Porters by Larry Tye merits a look and indicates that the book may be worth reading. Note that the pullman cars were running by 1867, and Pullman was hiring ex-slaves only for these jobs. Much interesting stuff here, including A. Phillip Randolph, et al. A few paragraphs:

"He [the author of the book] succeeds in explaining how, in the late 19th through the early 20th century, the young African American laborer who, while working as a porter, (but also as a dining car waiter, fireman, brakeman, maid or cook) for the Pullman Rail Car Company, was the true harbinger of the Civil Rights movement and the precursor to today’s black middle class. ’Behind almost every successful African American, there is a Pullman porter,’ Tye writes."

"What drew many in at first was the idea of being a porter: "an image outlined by midnight-blue tailored jackets and crisp visored caps, filled in with tales of exotic destinations and celebrity passengers, and completed by the sound of coins jingling in the pockets of these veteran porters." But what prompted them to stay, and even to pass their jobs on to their children, was the reality of the economic advantage porters gained over any other profession available to blacks at the time. It was not only an opportunity to support themselves and their families, but it produced a peculiar set of circumstances that yielded unexpected opportunities -- which went beyond their selves, their communities and even their time." Read the whole thing, two pages.

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