Saturday, November 23, 2013

Rising from the Rails-Pullman Porters and the Black Middle Class - December Book

Books are available for you to borrow at the Guilford Free Library. We'll talk about this book on Wednesday, December 18th.

When George Pullman began recruiting Southern blacks as porters in his luxurious new sleeping cars, the former slaves suffering under Jim Crow laws found his offer of a steady job and worldly experience irresistable. They quickly signed up to serve as maid, waiter, concierge, nanny, and occasionally doctor and undertaker to cars full of white passengers, making the Pullman Company the largest employer of African Americans in the country by the 1920s.

Drawing on extensive interviews with dozens of porters and their descendants, Larry Tye reconstructs the complicated world of the Pullman porter and the vital cultural, political, and economic roles they played as forerunners of the modern black middle class. Rising from the Rails provides a lively and enlightening look at this important social phenomenon.

About the author, Larry Tye.

The Legacy of Pullman Porters, from the Museum of the American Railroad.

Terry Gross interviews Larry Tye on Fresh Air in 2004.

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