On Thursday, President Barack Obama turned a historic South Side neighborhood in Chicago into a national monument. The Pullman National Monument is a neighborhood where African-American railroad workers won a significant labor agreement in the 1930’s.
The neighborhood was built by industrialist George Pullman, for workers to manufacture luxurious railroad sleeping cars. While the company hired primarily white employees, they also hired former slaves to serve as porters, waiters and maids on its iconic sleeping cars.
The railroad industry (Pullman in particular) was one of the largest African American employers by the early 1900s, which helped play a major role in the black middle class. Through a labor agreement they won, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, they helped launch a civil rights movement in the 20th century.
“As Chicago’s first national park, Pullman’s 135 years of civil rights and industrial history will be protected and enjoyed for generations to come,” Senator Mark Kirk said in a statement. “This new national park will breathe new economic life into this community, bringing up to 30,000 visitors and more than $40 million each year.”
BMWK, this is an amazing piece of Black History, did you know about the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters & would you visit this National Park?