Calling All Pullman Porters


Apparently there was once a day when train travel was super-swank, and dutiful attendants catered to your every whim.

These attendants were known as Pullman porters, and they played a vital role in black history, as the jobs were largely populated by blacks–many of them former slaves. They were named for the sleeper cars that were made by Pullman.

As May 9 approaches–bet you didn’t know May 9 is National Train Day–Amtrak is attempting to gather the surviving Pullman porters for a reunion, reports the NY Times.

The Pullman fellows were known as pretty cool cats.

The porters largely settled in cities that were major rail stops — Chicago, Boston, Washington, New York — but they could be found anywhere the railroads ran. “We found pockets of them in Nebraska, in Omaha,” said Mr. Ernest, who works for Images USA, which is working with Amtrak on the National Train Day project.

The men have retained a certain dignity. “When we find them, they are dapper,” Mr. Ernest said. “They are men, even at this age, who wear suits and ties.”

The reunion is slated for 30th Street Station in Philly.

This entry was posted in Amtrak, Pullman Porters and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Calling All Pullman Porters

  1. Bobby says:

    It’s a little known fact, but Malcolm X was once a Pullman Porter on The New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad. He called himself “Detroit Red” back then.

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