Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Brotherhood of the Sleeping Car Porters

Despite the significant number of African American employees on railroads, most were denied membership in the traditional railroad unions. Established in 1912, the Association of Colored Railway Trainmen and Locomotive Firemen was one of the first African American labor unions. At its peak in 1926, this organization could boast approximately 3,500 members.

A. Philip Randolph formed the nation's first widely successful African American union in 1925. Called the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and Maids, this organization successfully lobbied for greater economic opportunities and equality for both male and female African American railroad employees.

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