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Comments made by kornweibel

The African-American Railroad Experience

Hello Simonsmith:

If you want to research your grandfather's career, it could be done through the pages of the Southern Railway Bulletin. Any employee who worked for a quarter century or more is probably mentioned. It would be helpful to know his job(s), locations(s), and retirement date. There might even be a photo of him!
Let me know if I can help you do research on him.
Ted Kornweibel

April 8, 2010 at 4:45 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

The African-American Railroad Experience

Hello Kelvin:

Thanks for the compliment. I'll be at Borders Books and Music in El Cajon (Parkway Plaza) tomorrow, Wednesday,vberween 6 and 8 pm.

After you've had a chance to peruse the book, tell me which are your favorite photographs.


March 23, 2010 at 6:22 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

The African-American Railroad Experience

Hi Roz:

Great question. All the books on the Harvey Girls will tell you that they were only white women.World War II kn El Paso. There are clearly some black Harvey Girls. I've also seen a photo of the Harvey House restaurant in the main station in Chicago, which had black waitresses, bus boys, and other staff. So I say with confidence that there were black Harvey Girls. If they existed in El Paso, they probably also worked as such in other Texas Harvey House locations.

Black women railroaders were common in the West during WWII, as "Rose the Railroader" instead of "Rosie the Riveter." And others worked in Pullman laundries, and a very few as Pullman maids on luxury trains between Chicago and California. More in my book.

March 23, 2010 at 6:16 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

The African-American Railroad Experience

Hi Kathe:

Thanks for the question. The individual toilets in sleeping car compartments were not designed with segregation in mind. Rather, to give privacy, not having to use the communal bathrooms for each sex at the end of the cars. Open section sleeping cars, which had open seating by day and the seats were made into upper and lower berths at night, didn't have individual toilets and sinks.

It was often difficult for blacks to buy sleeping car tickets before the civil rights era. They often had to buy them over the phone (rather than in person) or have someone else buy for them. Ironically, if they would get a reservation for a berth in an open section car, the Pullman conductor would try to move the black person into a private room (which was a higher fare) so that whites wouldn't have to sit and sleep near a black person, nor share the same restroom.

March 23, 2010 at 6:10 p.m. ( | suggest removal )