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Guide to the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters Oral History Collection OH.021

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2596
special.collections@nyu.edu


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Tamiment staff

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 10, 2021
Finding aid written in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Edited by Megan O’Shea for compliance with DACS and ACM Required Elements for Archival Description, and to reflect addition of box numbers to individual interviews  , May 2021

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Title: Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters Oral History Collection
Dates [inclusive]: circa 1970s-1990s
Abstract: The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters was founded in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York in 1925 by A. Philip Randolph, Ashley L. Totten, W. H. Des Verney, and Roy Lancaster. The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters Oral History Collection consists of audio recordings and transcripts of interviews with Black people who worked as sleeping car porters and were members of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. The interviews date from the 1970s to the 1990s and include discussions of the narrators's family backgrounds, their emigrations from the southern United States (US) to the northern US, and their experiences working for the Pullman Company.
Quantity: 1.6 Linear Feet in 1 cassette box, 1 card box, and 1 half manuscript box
Quantity: 29 audiocassettes
Language: Materials are in English.
Call Phrase: OH.021

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Historical Note

Manhattan, New York in 1925 by A. Philip Randolph, Ashley L. Totten, W. H. Des Verney, and Roy Lancaster. Those attending the meeting called for recognition of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) and the end of Pullman's Employee Representation Plan, a company union. It was not until 1936 that the BSCP received an international charter from the American Federation of Labor (AFL). A year later, the union took advantage of the apparatus of the new National Labor Relations Board and signed its first contract with the Pullman Company. This contract called for a 240-hour work month, a wage hike amounting to $1.25 million overall, job security, and union representation.

BSCP membership declined in the 1950s and 1960s as the railroad industry declined. With the rise of Amtrak in the early 1970s, the union experienced a brief resurgence until 1974 when Amtrak made a contract with the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union. The BSCP merged with the Brotherhood of Railway and Airline Clerks in 1978.

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Scope and Contents

The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters Oral History Collection consists of audio recordings and transcripts of interviews with Black people who worked as sleeping car porters and were members of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. The interviews date from the 1970s to the 1990s and were conducted in New York, New York; Chicago, Illinois; Denver, Colorado; and Los Angeles, California. The narrators discuss their family background, their emigration from the southern United States (US) to the northern US, and their experiences working for the Pullman Company. The interviews cover race relations in the labor movement, segregation within the American Federation of Labor, and civil rights in the early to mid 20th century.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged by format of material, and then by alphabetical order by narrator's last name.

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Access Points

Document Type

  • Audiocassettes.
  • Transcripts.

Subject Organizations

  • Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters

Subject Topics

  • Oral history.
  • African Americans and labor unions.
  • African Americans -- Civil rights -- United States.
  • African Americans -- Economic conditions.
  • Porters -- Labor unions -- United States.
  • Porters -- United States -- Interviews.

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright (or related rights to publicity and privacy) for materials in this collection, created by the the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, was not transferred to New York University. Permission to use materials must be secured from the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters Oral History Collection; OH 021; box number; folder number or item identifier; Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

Audiovisual Access Policies and Procedures

Access CDs for some audiovisual materials in the collection are available by appointment for reading room viewing and listening only. Other audiovisual materials have not been preserved and may not be available to researchers. Materials not yet digitized will need to have access copies made before they can be used. To request an access copy, or if you are unsure if an item has been digitized, please contact Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, special.collections@nyu.edu, 212-998-2596 with the collection name, collection number, and a description of the item(s) requested. A staff member will respond to you with further information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials found in collection; provenance is unknown. The accession number associated with this collection is 1950.093.

Processing Information

Decisions regarding arrangement, description, and physical interventions for this collection prior to 2021 are unknown. In May 2021, box numbers were attached at interview level and collection level notes were written for compliance with DACS and ACM Required Elements for Archival Description.

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Container List

Interviews

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: Access Audio 1 Esther Crawford
1988-10-19
Box: Shared Cassette Box 13 Cassette : 8 (Audio [31142062760601])
Box: Shared Cassette Box 13 Cassette : 10 Isiah Culbreath
1988-10-19
Box: Shared Cassette Box 13 Cassette : 7 Israte Curtis
1988-12-16
Box: Shared Cassette Box 13 Cassette : 2A-B (Audio [31142062760601]) Ish Flory
1988-11-27
Box: Access Audio 1 Cd : 2A-B (Access cd [31142062734655])
Box: Shared Cassette Box 13 Folder : 15 Harry Hawkins
1988-10-18
Box: Shared Cassette Box 13 Cassette : 9A-B Robert Henderson
1988-10-20
Box: Shared Cassette Box 13 Cassette : 11A-B James Jackson
1988-12-10
Box: Shared Cassette Box 13 Cassette : 12A-C Edward Brown Jewel
1988-12-04
Box: Shared Cassette Box 13 Cassette : 5A-B Amos Kimble
1988-12-09
Box: Shared Cassette Box 13 Cassette : 1 (Audio [31142062760601]) Elizabeth Lucas
1988-09-02
Box: Access Audio 1
Box: Shared Cassette Box 13 Cassette : 4A-C Elijah Shoemaker
1988-12-27
Box: Shared Cassette Box 13 Cassette : 16A-B Charles Simmons
1988-10-15
Box: Shared Cassette Box 13 Cassette : 14A-B Berry Slater
1988-10-16
Box: Shared Cassette Box 13 Cassette : 3A-B Fred Smith
1988-11-25
Box: Shared Cassette Box 13 Cassette : 13A-B George Smith
1988-12-12
Box: Shared Cassette Box 13 Cassette : 6A-B Arthur Woolfolk
1988-10-21

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Box
1
 

Transcripts

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