Pullman Maids

A. Philip Randolph and the Struggle for Civil Rights

A. Philip Randolph and the Struggle for Civil Rights

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A. Philip Randolph's career as a trade unionist and civil rights activist fundamentally shaped the course of black protest in the mid-twentieth century. Standing alongside individuals such as W. E. B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey at the center of the cultural renaissance and political radicalism that shaped communities such as Harlem in the 1920s and into the 1930s, Randolph fashioned an understanding of social justice that reflected a deep awareness of how race complicated class concerns, especially among black laborers. Examining Randolph's work in lobbying for the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, threatening to lead a march on Washington in 1941, and establishing the Fair Employment Practice Committee, Cornelius L. Bynum shows that Randolph's push for African American equality took place within a broader progressive program of industrial reform. Some of Randolph's pioneering plans for engineering change--which served as foundational strategies in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s--included direct mass action, nonviolent civil disobedience, and purposeful coalitions between black and white workers. Bynum interweaves biographical information on Randolph with details on how he gradually shifted his thinking about race and class, full citizenship rights, industrial organization, trade unionism, and civil rights protest throughout his activist career.
Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America

Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America

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"An extraordinary history...Deeply researched, elegantly written...a towering achievement that will not be soon forgotten."--Brent Staples, New York Times Book Review

"[This] epic, meticulously detailed account not only reminds its readers that newspapers matter, but so do black lives, past and present."--USA Today

Giving voice to the voiceless, The Chicago Defender condemned Jim Crow, catalyzed the Great Migration, and focused the electoral power of black America. Robert S. Abbott founded The Defender in 1905, smuggled hundreds of thousands of copies into the most isolated communities in the segregated South, becoming one of the first black millionaires in the process. His successor wielded the newspaper's clout to elect mayors and presidents, including Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy, who would have lost in 1960 if not for The Defender's support.

Drawing on dozens of interviews and extensive archival research, Ethan Michaeli constructs a revelatory narrative of race in America and brings to life the reporters who braved lynch mobs and policemen's clubs to do their jobs, from the age of Teddy Roosevelt to the age of Barack Obama.

In 1905, Robert S. Abbott started printing The Chicago Defender, a newspaper dedicated to condemning Jim Crow and encouraging African Americans living in the South to join the Great Migration. Smuggling hundreds of thousands of copies into the most isolated communities in the segregated South, Abbott gave voice to the voiceless, galvanized the electoral power of black America, and became one of the first black millionaires in the process.
 
His successor wielded the newspaper’s clout to elect mayors and presidents, including Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy, who would have lost in 1960 if not for The Defender’s support. Drawing on dozens of interviews and extensive archival research, Ethan Michaeli constructs a revelatory narrative of journalism and race in America, bringing to life the reporters who braved lynch mobs and policemen’s clubs to do their jobs, from the age of Teddy Roosevelt to the age of Barack O

GANDY DANCERS: AND WORK SONGS

GANDY DANCERS: AND WORK SONGS

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The early Railroads became a sign of hope to American people. The work was dangerous. They were a close group who supported each other...men of great honor. By 1910 the railroads employed 1,699,420 Americans. They were conductors, brakemen, firemen, engineers, porters, telegraphers, switchmen and section gangs. Some of the hardest workers were the section gangs. One group called Gandy Dancers, sang songs that helped keep them working together to straighten the tracks. This is a story about the Gandy Dancers, a forgotten group of men like the Pullman Porters. This is our second book in our black history series that we should never forget.
Madam C. J. Walker's Gospel of Giving: Black Women's Philanthropy During Jim Crow

Madam C. J. Walker's Gospel of Giving: Black Women's Philanthropy During Jim Crow

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Founder of a beauty empire, Madam C. J. Walker was celebrated as America's first self-made female millionaire in the early 1900s. Known as a leading African American entrepreneur, Walker was also devoted to an activist philanthropy aimed at empowering African Americans and challenging the injustices inflicted by Jim Crow.

Tyrone McKinley Freeman's biography highlights how giving shaped Walker's life before and after she became wealthy. Poor and widowed when she arrived in St. Louis in her twenties, Walker found mentorship among black churchgoers and working black women. Her adoption of faith, racial uplift, education, and self-help soon informed her dedication to assisting black women's entrepreneurship, financial independence, and activism. Walker embedded her philanthropy in how she grew her business, forged alliances with groups like the National Association of Colored Women, funded schools and social service agencies led by African American women, and enlisted her company's sales agents in local charity and advocacy work.

Illuminating and dramatic, Madam C. J. Walker's Gospel of Giving broadens our understanding of black women's charitable giving and establishes Walker as a foremother of African American philanthropy.

Pullman Porters and the Rise of Protest Politics in Black America, 1925-1945

Pullman Porters and the Rise of Protest Politics in Black America, 1925-1945

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Between World War I and World War II, African Americans' quest for civil rights took on a more aggressive character as a new group of black activists challenged the politics of civility traditionally embraced by old-guard leaders in favor of a more forceful protest strategy. Beth Tompkins Bates traces the rise of this new protest politics-which was grounded in making demands and backing them up with collective action-by focusing on the struggle of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) to form a union in Chicago, headquarters of the Pullman Company.
Pullman: The Man, the Company, the Historical Park

Pullman: The Man, the Company, the Historical Park

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George Pullman's legacy lies in the town that bears his name. As one of the first thoroughly planned model industrial communities, it was designed to give the comforts of a permanent home to the employees who built America's most elegant form of overnight railroad travel. But the town was more than just a residential wing of sleeper car manufacturing; its 1894 railroad strike led to the national Labor Day holiday. In the early twentieth century, the Pullman Company became the country's largest employer of African Americans, who then formed the nation's first successful Black labor union. Author Kenneth Schoon revisits Pullman's monumental history and the lessons it continues to provide.
George Pullman's legacy lies in the town that bears his name. As one of the first thoroughly planned model industrial communities, it was designed to give the comforts of a permanent home to the employees who built America's most elegant form of overnight railroad travel. But the town was more than just a residential wing of sleeper car manufacturing; its 1894 railroad strike led to the national Labor Day holiday. In the early twentieth century, the Pullman Company became the country's largest employer of African Americans, who then formed the nation's first successful Black labor union. Author Kenneth Schoon revisits Pullman's monumental history and the lessons it continues to provide.
Rising from the Rails: Pullman Porters and the Making of the Black Middle Class

Rising from the Rails: Pullman Porters and the Making of the Black Middle Class

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The Pullman Porter: An American Journey

The Pullman Porter: An American Journey

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Pullman Porters were very important figures in the history of America. This book teaches children and adults who porters were and why they were so important in our history.

Porters worked in early train cars, for 70 railroad companies nationwide. They would look, listen and learn from their predominantly white passengers. They read the newspapers passengers left behind, listened to conversations and talked with one another. The porter knew how important education was for children and how important it was to take this message home to his family. He eventually landed at the forefront of the civil rights movement.
The Warmth of Other Suns

The Warmth of Other Suns

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NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER - NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - In this beautifully written masterwork, the Pulitzer Prize-winnner and bestselling author of Caste chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life.

From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves.

With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, who in 1937 left sharecropping and prejudice in Mississippi for Chicago, where she achieved quiet blue-collar success and, in old age, voted for Barack Obama when he ran for an Illinois Senate seat; sharp and quick-tempered George Starling, who in 1945 fled Florida for Harlem, where he endangered his job fighting for civil rights, saw his family fall, and finally found peace in God; and Robert Foster, who left Louisiana in 1953 to pursue a medical career, the personal physician to Ray Charles as part of a glitteringly successful medical career, which allowed him to purchase a grand home where he often threw exuberant parties.

Wilkerson brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work. Both a riveting microcosm and a major assessment, The Warmth of Other Suns is a bold, remarkable, and riveting work, a superb account of an "unrecognized immigration" within our own land. Through the breadth of its narrative, the beauty of the writing, the depth of its research, and the fullness of the people and lives portrayed herein, this book is destined to become a classic.

Traveling Black: A Story of Race and Resistance

Traveling Black: A Story of Race and Resistance

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Winner of the Bancroft Prize
Winner of the David J. Langum Prize
A New York Times Critics' Top Book of the Year

"This extraordinary book is a powerful addition to the history of travel segregation. Traveling Black reveals how travel discrimination transformed over time from segregated trains to buses and Uber rides. Mia Bay shows that Black mobility has always been a struggle."
--Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist

A riveting, character-rich account of racial segregation in America that reveals just how central travel restrictions were to the creation of Jim Crow laws--and why "traveling Black" has been at the heart of the quest for racial justice ever since.

From Plessy v. Ferguson to #DrivingWhileBlack, African Americans have fought for over a century to move freely around the United States. Curious as to why so many cases contesting the doctrine of "separate but equal" involved trains and buses, Mia Bay went back to the sources with some basic questions: How did travel segregation begin? Why were so many of those who challenged it in court women? How did it move from one form of transport to another, and what was it like to be caught up in this web of contradictory rules?

From stagecoaches and trains to buses, cars, and planes, Traveling Black explores when, how, and why racial restrictions took shape and brilliantly portrays what it was like to live with them. "There is not in the world a more disgraceful denial of human brotherhood than the 'Jim Crow' car of the southern United States," W. E. B. Du Bois famously declared. Bay unearths troves of supporting evidence, rescuing forgotten stories of undaunted passengers who made it back home despite being insulted, stranded, re-routed, or ignored.

Black travelers never stopped challenging these humiliations and insisting on justice in the courts. Traveling Black upends our understanding of Black resistance, documenting a sustained fight that falls outside the traditional boundaries of the civil rights movement. A masterpiece of scholarly and human insight, this book helps explain why the long, unfinished journey to racial equality so often takes place on the road.