Chicago's Interracial Debating Classic, January 25, 1931

Pullman Company Archives, Labor Union Negotiation and Agreement Files, 06/01/04, Box 17, Folder 494, Newberry Library.

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.

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