Parents: Be There

26 02 2010

Just listen.


B.H.M. Picture To Remember

15 02 2010

It’s not just the negroe hanging from the rope that disturbs me about this picture. It’s the smiling faces, looks of accomplishment, and the situation itself. People posing as if the body above them served better as a photo prop than as a host for a human soul. Children are present also, leading me to believe that their parents encouraged them to be present to witness AND be taught that this is normal. How can you be so joyous about torturing a human being who most likely did nothing wrong?

B.H.M. – The Pullman Strike

4 02 2010

George Mortimer Pullman (March 3, 1831 – October 19, 1897) was an American inventor and industrialist. He is known as the inventor of the Pullman sleeping car, and for violently suppressing striking workers in the company town he created, Pullman.

Shortly after the Civil War, Pullman had begun hiring African Americans as porters and waiters. Although he paid them a fraction of what he paid whites, segregated them in menial jobs, and worked them harder than other workers, Pullman offered blacks better jobs and working conditions than did anyone else at the time. As porters, Southern black men escaped sharecropping and traveled around the country, where they learned new skills, found more opportunities and met celebrities. Their pay and tips held many black families together when other work was prohibited to them. Later, in the 20th century, Pullman employees became leaders in the civil rights movement.

Disection very quick to give a nice picture of what went on here:

Pullman had begun hiring African Americans as porters

 A porter is person employed to carry burdens, especially an attendant who carries travelers’ baggage at a hotel or transportation station.

A porter is also a dark beer resembling light stout, made from malt browned or charred by drying at a high temperature.

Which definition do you think was insinuated when an african american was called a porter in the 1800s?


In 1893, because of a depression, factory wages at the company fell about twenty-five percent, but the rents George Pullman charged did not decrease. If a Pullman worker went into debt, it was taken from his paycheck.

On May 11,1894, three thousand Pullman workers went on a “wildcat” strike, that is, without authorization of their union. Many of the strikers belonged to the American Railroad Union (ARU) founded by Eugene V. Debs. Debs, who was from Indiana, had moved to Chicago where he became a railroad fireman. He became aware of the working conditions of his fellow laborers. He saw men working for low wages, some of whom were injured or killed because of unsafe equipment. He was determined to make things better.

On June 26, 1894, some ARU members refused to allow any train with a Pullman car to move, except those with mail cars. Debs did not want federal troops to get involved, and he knew that if the U.S. mail was tampered with, the troops would be there immediately.

The railroads had formed an organization called the General Managers Association. They announced that no one could tell them whom to hire, whom to fire, or how they should pay their workers. The twenty-four railroads that were part of the General Managers Association immediately tried to end the strike. They announced that any switchman who refused to move rail cars would be fired.

Debs’s union announced that if a switchman was fired because he refused to move Pullman cars all the union members would walk off the job. By June 29, fifty thousand men had quit their jobs. Crowds of people who supported the strike began stopping trains. Soon there was no movement on the rails west of Chicago. In some places, fights broke out.

The governor of Illinois was John P. Altgeld. He did not want to request troops because he believed that workers should have the same rights as their bosses. These ideas made the General Managers Association uneasy. The railroad managers started flooding the newspapers with stories that made Debs’s American Railroad Union seem like a violent and lawless gang and portrayed Eugene Debs as a radical. They claimed that unrest had always ended in violence and threatened that this strike would be the same. The railroads began sending people to work on railroads as strike breakers or scabs.

Attorney General Richard Olney supported the General Managers Association because he believed that the railroads had the right to do things their way, and if the workers disagreed with the treatment they were receiving, they could quit. On June 29, 1894, Debs went to Blue Island and asked the railroad workers there if they would support the strike. The railroad workers there felt they were being discriminated against. Angry railroad workers in Blue Island began destroying the yards and burning anything that was flammable. Attorney General Olney requested President Cleveland to send federal troops into Chicago to break the strike.

On July 2, 1894, Olney obtained an injunction from a federal court saying that the strike was illegal. When the strikers did not return to work the next day, President Cleveland sent federal troops into Chicago. This enraged strikers, and rioters began stopping trains, smashing switches, and, again, setting fire to anything that would burn. On July 7, another mob stopped soldiers escorting a train through the downtown Chicago area. Many people were killed or wounded from bullets.

On July 10, 1894, Debs and three other union leaders were arrested for interferring with U.S. mail. They were released within a few hours, but Debs realized that continuing the strike would be a lost cause because of the federal troops.

Most railroad workers resumed their old jobs and received the same wages as before. Some workers were put on a blacklist, which meant that no railroad in the United States was allowed to hire them. On July 17, 1894, Debs was sent back to jail and served a term of six months in jail. The union he had created no longer existed when he got out of jail.

The Pullman Strike was important because it was the first time a federal injunction had ever been used to break up a strike. George Pullman was no longer regarded as an enlightened employer who took care of his workers, but as a greedy and intolerant man. He was offended by his workers’ ingratitude. Pullman worried that people would try to steal what was his from him. Shortly before he died in 1897, he requested that his grave be lined in concrete to keep looters from robbing him

There was a tv special about porters that was on this past Tuesday night. One story was about a woman who’s father worked as a Porter. In their attic there was a trunk that he would never open. Finally after some years she asked him what was in it and he said, “Well lets go find out.” When they opened it, they found several bank receipts in it marked “.75cents”, “$2,000”, “$10”. They were the receipts and records of his tips and earnings from when he was a porter were in different bank accounts. He saved that and used it to pay for her college education.

Black History Facts

2 02 2010

Black History Month began as “Negro History Week,” which was created in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, a noted African American historian, scholar, educator, and publisher. It became a month-long celebration in 1976. The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

On February 12, 2009, the NAACP will mark its 100th anniversary. Spurred by growing racial violence in the early twentieth century, and particularly by race riots in Springfield Illinois in 1908, a group of African American leaders joined together to form a new permanent civil rights organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). February 12, 1909 was chosen because it was the centennial anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.

Lewis and Clark’s Black Explorer

2 02 2010

When giving history it’s best to start from the beginning. All credit for these recordings go to “1001 Things Everyone Should Know About African Americans”

“Lewis and Clark’s 1804 expedition through the West from Missouri to Oregon was made easier by York, a Black slave owned by Clark. Over six feet tall and weighing more than two hundred pounds, York was the first Black man that many native Americans had seen. York patiently allowed the Indians to examine his skin to see if the color would rub off. As one Flathead Indian explained, his dark skin inspired respect: ‘Those who had been brave and fearless, the victorious ones in battle, painted themselves charcoal. So the Black man, they thought, had been the bravest party.’

York also entertained the Indians with athletic stunts. his antics helped ease the hostility and communication difficulties between the Indians and the exploration party.

Clark recorded in his diary that York ‘amused the crowd very much, and Somewhat astonished them, that So large a man should be active.’ Some historians believe that York was freed by Clark after they returned to St. Louis and became an Indian chief in the West. Others believe he was never freed and his future after the expedition remained unknown.”

B.H.M. Henry Blair (1807 – 1860),

1 02 2010

the second African-American to receive a patent, invented a corn seed planter in 1834 and a cotton planter in 1836.
Henry Blair was the only inventor to be identified in the Patent Office records as “a colored man.” Blair was born in Montgomery County, Maryland around 1807. He received a patent on October 14, 1834 for a seed planter and a patent in 1836 for a cotton planter.

Blair could not read or write and signed his patent with an X.

Black History Month

1 02 2010

Back where I went for grade school, this month was heavily emphasized. Photographs of African American inventors, writers, politicians, and life time achievers were posted on bulletin boards throughtout the hallways and in classrooms. We became familiar each year with the usual names of Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, W.E.B. Dubois and Colin Powell, but there really are a great number of African American achievers who were not made familiar names.

In honor of this month I’ll be posting a new fact, mini bio, or history tidbit of at least 2 African American inventors,  activist, or just an account of a significant event every day…. 

*Dre* “EVERY DAY!!”

These were people who really paved the way for some of the things we are able to do today such as vote, sit in whatever seat we wish on buses, attend integrated schools, little things we take for granted today. It’s only right to give recognition and at least know SOMETHING about your history.

I also encourage you to pic this book up for more history: 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About African American History: Jeffery C. Stewart

yes I own a copy and have read it multiple times.