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Red Caps and Pullman Porters

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US History Age Levels Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)

This is a topical collection of items relating to red caps and Pullman porters, positions associated with train travel during the 20th century.

Teachers and students might use this collection to explore how these jobs reinforced the social status of African-Americans while at the same time ensuring steady, reliable work and the rise of an African-American middle class. They also might consider the impact of A. Philip Randolph and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. How did the development of this labor union later impact the Civil Rights movement?

tags: amtrak, railroad, trains, sleeping car, segregation

Portrait of John Reid wearing Pullman porters uniform

Anacostia Community Museum Archives

Photographic postcard of Pullman Porter, Omer Ester and his wife Jean

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Promotional photograph from the film Journey By Train

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Advertisement from the Saturday Evening Post featuring a Pullman Porter

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Go Pullman

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Railroad Station Baggage Handler's Cap

National Museum of American History

Cap worn by Pullman Porter Philip Henry Logan

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Train car sign from the Pullman Company used by Thomas McCord

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Instructions to Porters, Attendants, and Busboys

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Hole punch used by Pullman porter Thomas McCord

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Four buttons from a Pullman Porter uniform

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Key tool carried by Pullman Porter Robert Thomas

National Museum of African American History and Culture

[Pullman Wood Hanger]

Anacostia Community Museum