13 results for “Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters”

Chicago's Interracial Debating Classic, January 25, 1931

Before the advent of television, lectures and debates provided public entertainment. Social activists used these venues to present their ideas and to educate their constituencies. This flyer promotes a debate involving A. Philip Randolph and Chandler Owen, both leaders of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP), as optimists, and Ben Reitman and David Tullman, both white radicals associated with the Dill Pickle Club, as pessimists. Although the exact topic of the debate is unclear, both sides supported unionization as well as racial integration. In 1931, the BSCP was engaged in a campaign to gain formal recognition as the union of African American porters and maids who worked on Pullman sleeping cars.

Date
1931
Subjects
Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters
Dill Pickle Club
Education
Labor
Places
Chicago (Ill.)
People
Randolph, A. Phillip
Reitman, Ben
Labor rally poster, Du Sable High School

Unionization will advance the cause of all African Americans. So said Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) leader A. Philip Randolph at Du Sable High School in 1937, according to the Pullman Company informant who attended the meeting. Chicago's Pullman Company was a major employer of African Americans and enjoyed a reputation for paternalism toward its workers, providing good wages and an Employee Representation Plan that the company promoted as an alternative to independent unions. Beginning in the mid-1920s the BSCP worked to unionize the porters and maids working in Pullman's sleeping cars. Like other Chicago companies, Pullman maintained an extensive network of informants who infiltrated unions and reported back to management (see image #121).

Date
May 9, 1937
Subjects
Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters
Labor unions
Pullman Company
Places
Chicago (Ill.)
People
Randolph, A. Phillip
Report from M. Butler to E.M. Graham, May 11, 1937

The report of an undercover agent to the Pullman Company. Since the late 19th century, the Pullman Company employed African Americans as service workers on its sleeping cars. By the 1920s it was one of the largest industrial employers of African American workers, enjoying a reputation for paternalism. Beginning in the mid-1920s the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) under the leadership of A. Philip Randolph sought to unionize the porters and maids of the Pullman Company. Like other industrial employers, Pullman maintained an extensive network of informants who infiltrated unions and reported back to management.

Date
May 11, 1937
Subjects
African Americans
Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters
Unions
Working class
Places
Pullman (Chicago, Ill.)
Cleaning the Vista Dome Car

A worker empties trash from a rail road dining car, 1949. Two workers are visible inside the car. Most railroad work was racially segregated into the 1950s with African Americans largely restricted to service jobs such as porters, cooks, and cleaners.

Creator
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company
Date
ca. 1949
Subjects
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company
Labor
Railroads
Places
Chicago (Ill.)
Cleaning the "Vistadome" Car

Railroad work in the U.S. was segregated by race well into the 1950s. African Americans held jobs for car cleaners, maids, and porters, but rarely worked as conductors or engineers. Here an African American woman cleans the interior of the Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy “Vistadome” car.

Creator
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company
Date
ca. 1949
Subjects
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company
Labor
Railroads
Places
Chicago (Ill.)
Sherwood Anderson, "Jack Jones--The Pickler."

In this article from the Chicago Daily News, the novelist Sherwood Anderson describes the diverse audience at the Dill Pickle Club: “The street car conductor sits on a bench beside the college professor, the literary critic, the earnest young wife, who hungers for culture, and the hobo.”

Creator
Sherwood Anderson
Date
1919
Subjects
Amusements
Dill Pickle Club
Literature
Places
Chicago, Illinois
Sleeping on the Burlington Route and Eating on the Burlington Route

Printed in a guidebook, “How to Go West,” these advertisements for Pullman cars stressed elegance, comfort, and speed. Pullman cars changed the nature of rail travel for middle and upper class travelers.

Date
1872
Subjects
Advertisement
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company
Pullman cars
Railroads
Tourism
Main Gate to Works, Pullman

Workers leave the Pullman Palace Car Works, 1893. This picture appeared in a promotional booklet celebrating the paternalistic labor policies of George Pullman. A year later Pullman's workers were at the center of a national strike of rail workers that failed after federal troops intervened.

Date
1893
Subjects
Industry
Pullman Company
Railroads
Working class
Places
Pullman (Chicago, Ill.)
Items for Passengers Going Across the Continent

A page from the guidebook “How to Go West” details the prices for passengers and freight traveling across North America in the early 1870s. Sleeping cars were reserved for 1st class passengers only. Second class and emigrant class passengers rode in less elegant accommodations and were advised to bring “a lunch basket” for a trip lasting several days from Omaha to San Francisco.

Date
1872
Subjects
Advertisement
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company
Pullman cars
Railroads
Tourism
Cover of _Clason's Touring Atlas of the United States and Canada_

Clason's Touring Atlas of the United States and Canada featured maps, tourist attractions, and “the best routes to the wonders of America.” The Clason Map Co. also produced “Clason's Green Guides” with in-depth information by state. The front cover of this map pictures an Indian waving as a car speeds past. One of the passengers, perhaps a young boy, waves back.

Creator
Clason Map Company
Date
1920
Subjects
Atlases
Tourism
Visions of history
Places
Canada
United States