Amtrak is taking a trip down memory lane this weekend to honor the historical Pullman Porters.
The train transportation company will be bringing back five retired porters, stewards and chefs for the ceremonies, which begin today.
On Saturday, May 9 they will be taking an Amtrak train to festivities for National Train Day in Philadelphia.
The Pullman Porters served as train staff between 1936 and 1978. At 200,000 strong, they were the largest group of employed Black men, and they often worked grueling hours while cheerfully tending to the needs of travelers from coast to coast.
In order to earn their full, the porters would have to work more than 100 hours per week on average. Despite the rough conditions and long hours, they were still able to support their families and send their children to college.
In 2001 the A. Phillip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum began compiling a list of all the porters. That list was published in a book called An Anthology of Respect: The Pullman Porters National Historic Registry Of African American Railroad Employees.
During the events in Philadelphia there will be guest speakers and plaques will be presented. Attendees can also check out some of the large displays that will be set up.
– Sonya Eskridge