“Lounge section of dining car, Erie Railroad Company”

By an unknown photographer, unknown location, ca. 1949

Early in the 20th century, Pullman Palace Car employed more African Americans than any other company in the United States. Most held jobs as sleeping car porters, caring for mostly white railroad passengers. Porters worked long hours with little rest, but they were well paid compared to other African Americans. In 1937, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters became the first African American union to win a labor agreement. Its members often became community leaders and civil rights activists.

National Archives, Records of the U.S. Information Agency (306-PS-49-1148)