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On Past African American History (Not In the Books), we discovered fascinating post by Kamal Shariff about National Museum of African American History’s Train Exhibit Preserves Lost History of Jim Crow South.
National Museum of African American History’s Train Exhibit Preserves Lost History of Jim Crow South
The Pullman Co. ID card on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture tells the story of the opportunities, and limitations, the descendants of slaves found working on the railroad.
The ID belonged to Thomas McCord, a Pullman porter based out of Union Station in Louisville, Ky. The ID indicates he was born in January 1886, and shows his face in a fuzzy, black-and-white photo taken during World War II. It is likely he’d been attending to sleeping car passengers’ needs for many years.
But one thing hadn’t changed during that time: Although McCord worked in one of the premier jobs black men could have in the period between the Civil War and the civil rights era, his own family members had to use separate waiting rooms and ride in separate train car compartments on the very railroad that provided him a living.