Wait...so on trains you not only can get a bed, but also people to attend to your every need? Sign us right up. We may never fly again.
|3rd Grade||Language Arts|
|Elementary and Middle School||3rd Grade|
Catching the Z's can seem pretty much impossible. [Angry looking old man]
But fear not!
Sleep and travel can sometimes go hand-in-hand, thanks to the sleeping cars on trains. [Kid asleep holding his teddy bear]
And today we'll be talking about the people who worked on these cars...
So what exactly is a porter?
Well, in the simplest of terms, a porter is someone who helps the train's guests with [Coop pointing at a blackboard]
their luggage and whatever else they might need a hand with.
A Pullman porter, then, is a porter who works specifically in sleeping cars. [Dino pointing at a blackboard]
They're probably tasked with the super important jobs of delivering warm milk and reading bed [Porter carrying a tray of books with a glass of milk]
They were named after George Pullman, the inventor and manufacturer of train sleeping cars.
Now you may be thinking, “Wow, do we really need a whole lesson on train porters?” [School kids looking unenthusiastic]
But here's the thing: Pullman Porters came about after the end of the Civil War, and
up until the middle of the 20th century, they were only black men. [Painting of old Pullman Porter]
Also important to note: the only people who were staying in these Pullman sleeper cars
were middle class white people.
Now you might be thinking that this doesn't look great.
After all, we just ended slavery, so why are African American men still serving white people? [Picture of the abolition of slavery act]
And you'd be right – this period wasn't exactly a shining moment for racial equality. [White people walking away]
But here's the thing: George Pullman was intentionally hiring ex-slaves as porters in order to give
black men an opportunity for real work.
This helped to begin the development of the black middle class of America. [People working in a kitchen on one of the cars]
And sure, the pay wasn't exactly great – but it was one of the best jobs available to African
American men at the time.
What's more, these porters formed the very first black worker's union under the leadership
and direction of A. Phillip Randolph. [Picture of Randolph]
This union, called the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, played a huge role in the Civil
Rights Movement of the United States, so it's importance can't be overstated. [Picture of the union protesting]
All in all, Pullmans Porters and the BSCP were all important parts of building the
post-Civil-War America we know today.
And that's the kind of news that helps us sleep well at night…even if we're smashed [Girl sleeping]
between two strangers on a red-eye. [Angry looking old guy]