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10 Surprising Facts About Black Men and Women Who Contributed to The American Railroads!!

America is by all standards a country that has seen a well gravitated historical account since it’s discovery in the 4th century. Likewise, of key particular interest is the chronological significance commutated by the black community in America during the railroad era. Primarily, black men and women played a major role in the era and as such there is quite a broad array of both factual aspects and fictional prospects that come with them. Relevantly, delving into the purposeful facts as relates to this era in America is significantly a rich topic that further relays the diversity and rich history of America. Potently, these are some of the facts that relate to black women and men from the railroad era.

Southern Railroads

1. Enslaved Africans built all Southern Railroads in the 1800s

According to P. Jackson, a historical analyst, the 1800s were significantly the ripe era where blacks fully got involved in railroad construction. This has to be noted that it was not out of their own free will but was as a result of the slavery dispensation that rocked the time period. The southern sphere of America was very particular and distinct in that it was a sphere characterized by radicals and outright racists who strongly believed in slavery.

Black Women in Railroad Construction

2. There was active involvement of women in the railroad construction

Unaware to most people, black women were also active participants of the railroad era as they did small or simple manual jobs. A good example is the Broadband Sisterhood Railroad Union that primarily involved the black women who worked in the railroad construction.

train stoppers

3. Men faced epic risks as manual train stoppers

During the onset period of the railroad construction, the trains used during that time lacked automatic air brakes as we see today. Therefore, as a matter of grave concern, it involved the black men who were stationed as porters and brake men to stop the traveling trains. This by all means posed a high risk in terms of safety and consequently became a key point for most revolt unions.

reality of John Henry

4. The reality of John Henry

A lot of superstition is accredited to John Henry and primarily so due to the fact that a greater part of the black community in America during the 1800 believed in him as a legend and to some a myth. Truth of the matter is that John Henry was an activist who died in the 16th century and was greatly involved in the pushing for abolition of slavery but rather died in the big bearded tunnel, Ohio in what is believed to be an assassination. This and other exemplary efforts gained him honorary status among the black community and songs were created in his memory as a true legend.

Pullman maids


5. The existence of Pullman maids and Pullman Porters

Another key milestone in the 1800s was the invention of the Pullman Company that was oriented in sleeping train services. Black men and women served the whites as maids and porters and primarily created the service line of the train Company such as is the case of modern-day flight attendants.

sleepy car Porters

6. Arise of the Brotherhood of sleeping car Porters

Significantly, with the Pullman service coming into place, there arose a dire need to establish a union that could air the workers’ grievances. This necessitated the creation of the Brotherhood of sleeping cars porters that fundamentally involved the maids and porters working in the Pullman franchise and railroad service. Using this organ, their grievances on low salary, poor working conditions and insecurity could be aired effectively.

John Henry Ballard songs

7. Spark of John Henry Ballard songs

As earlier mentioned, John Henry was revered by the Black folks due to his exemplary fighting spirit and the colossal encouragement it championed among the slaves. As such, songs were formulated and created to specifically foster the spirit of bravery and hope among the slaves. In relevance to other modern day music genres that include blues, classic and jazz, there is a deep relation to the John Henry Ballard songs.

Railroad Boom in America

8. Colossal Railroad Boom championed slaves uprising

With the railroad construction growing in terms of expansion from region and region, there was an influx of black people including a mix up of blacks from many regions. This led to various revolts as blacks begun to develop more power and tyranny of numbers. A good example is the Sam Ballton coup that occurred on April, 1862 whereby a group of enslaved blacks led by Sam revolted and escaped camp. This later led to a span of escapes and revolts by other enslaved blacks causing massive uprising.

Granville T. Woods Massive patents

9. Granville T. Woods Massive patents and contribution to the railroad era

Granville T. Woods was a well accredited electrical and mechanical engineer whose considerable contributions in the railroads constructions made him an emblem personality to the black people. He was tendered by the railroads committee to do most of the mechanical and electrical undertakings. In the long run, his contributions made blacks realize that they had equal capabilities as the whites.

Whites Pushed Blacks Out of Rail Jobs

10. Invention of Air brake forced out blacks from the railroad employment

The terms of service of black brakes men and other utilities to the railroad service came to an agonizing halt after G. Westinghouse came up with the automatic air brake system. This caused massive layoffs of black people who were reverted back to field workers and acute slavery.



Written by How Africa

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