President Obama Declares Pullman Historic District a National Park

President Barack Obama designated Chicago’s Pullman Historic District as a national monument bringing legal protections for the area, once regarded as one of the nation’s most endangered historic sites.

The Pullman Company became one of the largest employers of African-Americans, who worked as porters and staff on Pullman’s sleeper cars. In an epic struggle, the Porters fought the bitterly anti-union Pullman Company for 12 years before the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters Union was recognized and a contract signed.

The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters became a part of TCU in 1978. The pioneering Union, led by A. Philip Randolph, who was also one of America’s great civil rights leaders. This merger is the reason for TCU’s membership on the Amtrak On-Board Service Workers Council.

The Porters union is credited with spurring the Great Migration by distributing northern newspapers in the South, and becoming the springboard for an African-American middle class.

The A. Philip Randolph museum is set to announce a bold new partnership with DePaul University that will bolster its unique database of 4,000 Pullman porters and their descendants. The two entities will launch a campaign to collect, compile and create an online depository of every Pullman porter and member of the on-board crew throughout history.

The current database, the result of an initial campaign in 2001, was catalogued in 2008. The new campaign will avail DePaul’s wealth of online resources and multimedia platforms, with the expanded database to be completed by June 2015.

Click here to read the release from the White House.

Click here to visit the A. Philip Randolph National Pullman Porter Museum website.