They were former slaves who were given a chance, took pride in their work and helped create the nation’s first black middle class.
The City of Seattle officially recognized October as “Pullman Porter Month,” celebrating Pullman porters for their public service and leadership in the Civil Rights Movement.
Pullman porters were African-American men hired by railroad industrialist George Pullman to work on the railroads as porters on sleeping cars. Starting shortly after the American Civil War, George Pullman sought out former slaves to work on his sleeper cars. Pullman porters served American railroads for nearly 100 years from the 1870s until the late 1960s.
This proclamation was sponsored by Seattle City Council members Bruce Harrell and Jean Godden and was organized by members of the Seattle African-American community.
Later this month, Seattle Repertory Theatre will present Cheryl L. West’s Pullman Porter Blues, based on three generations of porters living in late 1930s. The show debuts Oct. 28 in the Bagley Wright Theatre. Tickets are available now through the Seattle Rep Box Office at 206-443-2222 as well as online at www.seattlerep.org.