Jim Crow laws & railroads

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Jim Crow laws & railroads
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, March 31, 2006 8:49 AM
Did the national r.r system have segregated passenger cars when the Jim Crow laws were in effect in the south??? If an african american boarded a train in New York to go to Atlanta Ga,would he have to change his seat south of the mason dixon line. thanks Easter. ??????????
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Posted by GP-9_Man11786 on Friday, March 31, 2006 8:55 AM
My understanding is that they did. Either Trains or Classic trains did whole feature on the subject some time ago. Some railroads were segregated all the time others were only when passing through segregated states. One would think the added maintaincne cost of having additional seperate but not so equal cars would have caused railroads to abandon the practice ASAP.

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Posted by agentatascadero on Friday, March 31, 2006 5:42 PM
GP9, In those days, refreshingly, money was not everything, go figure. Prejudice was infinitely more important. I don't know how costly it was as the blacks got all the junk, I was there, it was appaling, especially for a kid not from the south. And there is, in the past few years, a great Jim Crow article in TRAINS, a great but depressing read.
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Posted by jimrice4449 on Saturday, April 01, 2006 12:22 PM
Many of the southern RRs solved the problem by having compartment coaches w/ a wall seperating the W&B sections. Some went so far as to have a vestibule at both ends of the car.
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Posted by TomDiehl on Saturday, April 01, 2006 4:43 PM
A car that was up at Steamtown a few years ago for repairs of hurricane damage, that belongs to the Gold Coast Railroad Museum in Florida fits this question. Check out this link for a detailed background:

http://www.goldcoast-railroad.org/jimcrow.htm
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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, April 02, 2006 1:43 AM
Going south from Penn Station during WWII, all the streamliners of the Southern, ACL, and SAL, and through coaches on the Havana Special, were segregated, with separate coaches for black passengers. Segregation was not practiced in room sleeping cars, because the use of separate room was considered enough segregation. There may have been segregated section sleepers, but I did not experience them. Generally, if black people traveled Pullman, they bought room space . I was told it was difficult for them to buy section space (upper and lower berths). Most dining cars on these trains had a glass dividing wall with a small seating area used by black passengers (2 or 4 tables seating 8 or 16), but the steward had some flexibility on handling the situation. It was rare to see a black in the lounge cars except for the attendent.

I imagine the same situatioh existed on trains running south from Chicago, St. Louis, and KC.

The same comfort standards applied in the coaches for black people as whites on these name trains.
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Posted by wjstix on Sunday, April 02, 2006 9:32 PM
Ironically as that article pointed out, many of the ancient (19th century) wood passenger cars we have preserved today were because those cars were used into the 50's and 60's as "Jim Crow" cars in the south.
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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, April 03, 2006 1:00 PM
The Richmond Fredericksburg and Patomic did continue the use of wood-bodied cars through WWII. But not only for blacks. I rode in one once.
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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Monday, April 03, 2006 2:20 PM
The Georgia Railroad used a handful of Jim Crow combines with the baggage section in the middle on its branchline mixed trains well into the 1960's, although by that time passengers of either race rarely showed up to ride those trains.

There were also some GE-designed pre-WW1 motor cars for Southern railroads with a center and rear entrance to the passenger section.

Wayner's "Car Names, Numbers and Consists" shows partitioned coaches as part of the equipment assigned to the Southerner when it started as a coach streamliner.
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, April 04, 2006 12:04 PM
Somehow the words,"One nation, under God ,indivisible ,with liberty and justice for all," didn't apply here.Easter.
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Posted by TomDiehl on Tuesday, April 04, 2006 1:22 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by easter

Somehow the words,"One nation, under God ,indivisible ,with liberty and justice for all," didn't apply here.Easter.


And these cars were just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
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Posted by csmith9474 on Tuesday, April 04, 2006 3:03 PM
One ran on the Sunset Limited well into the streamlined days. If I am not mistaken, it was pulled off in El Paso. I will have to research to verify this.

Edit: I was mistaken. It was a Budd built 48 seat partitioned chair car that was on the entire run from NO to LA and LA to NO. I am not sure what build the earlier cars were.
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, April 04, 2006 3:52 PM
Anyone know how long "apartheid" kept the railroads in South Africa segregated?? That was really an amazing feat when you think about it. This was like 5% of the population controling the lives of 95% of the people. Easter
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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, April 05, 2006 9:00 AM
The ratio wasn't quite the 95-5, and fortunately the white population itself decided to go to democracy without a real revolution, for which they deserve some credit at least. Most white South Africans stayed in SA after the end of Apartheid. Nothing like what happened to the "black feet French" in most of North Africa.

I visited South Africa some five times in connection with the Sun City development (integrated from the start, inlcuding management, with a number of black people educated in hotel management in Switzerland), and it was apparent that change had already started, and the airline was already non-segregated. Neither was the Blue Train, except possibly in the diner, where without a partition, the few blacks then riding were at one end of the car. This was all before segreation was officially ended. I think that occured as soon as the democratic government was in power.

The late Alexander Hamilton III, a leader in the Seashore Trolley Museum, and a well-known railfan, and I were assigned adjacent plane seats on one of my trips.
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, April 07, 2006 2:40 PM
Daveklepper,sounds like you've had some facinating experiences.Does the Blue train still run??? I imagine that rail travel is still the best means of travel in those regions.Did the Blue train continue to run even though there was still warfare going on in Rhodesia ?? Easter
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Posted by egmurphy on Friday, April 07, 2006 9:46 PM
QUOTE: easter: Does the Blue train still run???


Yes. See:

http://www.bluetrain.co.za/

A bit too rich for my railfanning habit.


Regards

Ed
The Rail Images Page of Ed Murphy "If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home." - James Michener
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Posted by PBenham on Saturday, April 08, 2006 7:10 PM
The "Jim Crow" laws had their roots (no pun intended) in the post civil war period when southerners were deprived of their civil rights by a revenge minded union. Full de-segregation was imposed by the occupation forces from the north. When the "reconstruction"/occupation ended, the white southerners vented their anger accordingly. To the revulsion of far too few people up north, they set about "normalizing" things. They began to restrict the rights of blacks starting in the late 1860s/early'70's using violence and threats of violence. Southern state legislatures and governors, fearing retribution passed descrimination laws. Things got out of hand quickly with the indifference of the northern states being one powerful factor in the growth of this "legal" discrimination. The Jim Crow equipment, at first, was older stock deemed unfit for white riders. There was still a problem for the southern railroads on less heavily patronized runs. Whites insisted on seperate (the "but equal" part came later in the infamous Jim Crow case. A shameful move by the supreme court pandering to the south and racists in general.) accomodations so they would not be "offended" by the presence of blacks in their sight. Thus, cars with baggage or mail compartments had their unique configuration with the baggage and mail compartments in the center of the cars, with the pasengers seated in the ends of the cars. Blacks tended to be placed toward the front of the train, with whites seated to the rear, further from the dirt and cinders emitted by the engine(s). When newer steel equipment was developed, the southern roads had some cars less comfortably equipped for their black patrons, while those for whites were more plesant. The end of this had to wait until the growth of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, aided by television coverage,which showed the truth that Hollywood's news reels refused to expose, because of fears their films would be banned in the south. The south's railroads de-segregated their accomodations under ICC edict in 1961. The equipment inequities persisted for a time until the trains involved were discontinued, or the offending equipment retired.
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Posted by Tim Burton on Saturday, April 08, 2006 10:42 PM
http://www.townhall.com/opinion/columns/thomassowell/2005/10/27/173033.html
http://www.federalist.com
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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, April 10, 2006 1:34 PM
Again, the modern lightweight streamlined trains always, in every case, provided the same type of seating and amenities for black passengers as for white.
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Posted by passengerfan on Wednesday, April 12, 2006 6:27 AM
I have a list of the lightweight streamlined "Jim Crow" cars that I will dig out after tax season ends. I think many will be surprised by some of the railroads that operated these type cars in named streamlined trains.
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Posted by csmith9474 on Wednesday, April 12, 2006 3:30 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by passengerfan

I have a list of the lightweight streamlined "Jim Crow" cars that I will dig out after tax season ends. I think many will be surprised by some of the railroads that operated these type cars in named streamlined trains.



Most every railroad that operated passenger trains in Jim Crow states had partitioned cars. That is a big list.
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Posted by PBenham on Wednesday, April 12, 2006 4:25 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by csmith9474

QUOTE: Originally posted by passengerfan

I have a list of the lightweight streamlined "Jim Crow" cars that I will dig out after tax season ends. I think many will be surprised by some of the railroads that operated these type cars in named streamlined trains.



Most every railroad that operated passenger trains in Jim Crow states had partitioned cars. That is a big list.
And their successors should be ashamed, very ashamed.
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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, April 16, 2006 8:21 AM
I don't think they need to be ashamed. They were obeying laws enforced by others. The fact is that when the streamlined trains were introduced, the comfort for black passengers was assured to be as good as for others. And the Pullman Company was one of the best employees blacks had in the bad old days. And most southern railroads did try to treat both black employees and passengers fairly but much depended on the attitude of the particular white employees involved. The prejudice was generic to the Southern Society. Some of the southern railroads were even outstanding in their fairness, but this would require a lot of research to prove and a good source might be the new museum for black culture and the impact of slavery being developed in Washington. I can say that when one tours Colonial Williamsburg, the issue is NOT swept under the rug but discussed openly and one can see slave quarters.

The equal treatment of black passengers on streamliners is something I know from personal experience having ridden the Silver Meteor, the Champions, and the Southerner before desegregation and having walked through the "Colored" cars.
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Posted by agentatascadero on Sunday, April 16, 2006 6:41 PM
P Benham mentions Jim Crow combines with baggage in the middle and passengers on both ends. So P, I have never heard or seen reference to such a car. Perhaps you could cite your source. i can concede that perhaps an individual baggage car was so configured, but no such fleet has ever existed in America, and I have travelled in the south in Jim Crow America.
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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Monday, April 17, 2006 7:02 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by agentatascadero

P Benham mentions Jim Crow combines with baggage in the middle and passengers on both ends. So P, I have never heard or seen reference to such a car. Perhaps you could cite your source. i can concede that perhaps an individual baggage car was so configured, but no such fleet has ever existed in America, and I have travelled in the south in Jim Crow America.

In the 1967 issue of TRAINS which had an article about the Georgia Railroad's barnchline mixed trains, there is in fact a photo in the article which shows a Jim Crow combine so configured.
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Posted by markn on Monday, April 17, 2006 1:51 PM
If you haven't read the Thomas Sowell link/article-I would highly recommend you do so-as usual, his work is very insightful and cuts thru the rhetoric.
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Posted by PBenham on Monday, April 17, 2006 4:19 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by CSSHEGEWISCH

QUOTE: Originally posted by agentatascadero

P Benham mentions Jim Crow combines with baggage in the middle and passengers on both ends. So P, I have never heard or seen reference to such a car. Perhaps you could cite your source. i can concede that perhaps an individual baggage car was so configured, but no such fleet has ever existed in America, and I have travelled in the south in Jim Crow America.

In the 1967 issue of TRAINS which had an article about the Georgia Railroad's barnchline mixed trains, there is in fact a photo in the article which shows a Jim Crow combine so configured.
During her 1962-5 L&N sponsored return to action, The "General" of "Great Locomotive Chase" fame(or infamy depending on whose side you were on) pulled around a single combine with the center baggage section. Check "The American Passenger Car, 1840(?)-1900" from Johns Hopkins University press, there are pics of such cars in there. Now, where is that thing anyhow...[D)] I can't find my copy of it, as its buried under so much[censored]! To see it on DVD or VHS take a look at New York Central Odyssey Volume one from Green Frog and see the General and her Jim Crow combine in action on the NYC(MC) in Detroit, (by the Greenfield Village)and in Indianapolis(Big 4).
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Posted by passengerfan on Tuesday, April 18, 2006 7:42 AM
As promised here is the list of RR's and streamliners that operated Jim Crow coaches.
Not in any particular order.

SP Sunset Limited

AT&SF Texas Chief, Kansas Cityan, Chicagoan, Tulsan, El Pasoan and the connecting trains in Texas to the San Francisco Chief.

Frisco Meteor and Firefly

MKT - Frisco Texas Special

KCS Southern Belle and Flying Crow

MP-T&P Delta Eagle, Texas Eagles 1-2, Texas Eagles 21-22, Louisiana Eagle and Valley Eagles

T&NO Sunbeams and Hustlers

ACL Champions

FEC Champions, Henry M. Flagler, and Dixie Flagler

Seaboard Silver Meteor, Silver Star, and Silver Comet

GM&O Rebels and Gulf Coast Rebel

Southern Southerner, Tennessean, Crescent and Royal Palm

IC Miss Lou, City of Miami and City of New Orleans

CofG Man O'War and Nancy Hanks II

L&N Humming Bird and Georgian

NC&STL City of Memphis

MONON Thoroughbred

CRI&P Texas Rocket, Choctaw Rocket and Twin Star Rocket

C&S-FW&D Texas Zephyr

CB&Q Sam Houston Zephyr

Hope that helps for anyone who was curious.
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, April 18, 2006 4:22 PM
there's a movie out on DVD,called "10,000 Black Men named George" It tells of the plight of the Pullman porters in those days. Those were not very good conditions those guys worked under. little benefits,& they could be fired at any time on just the whim of a white passenger. It's good viewing for anyone interested. Easter
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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, April 20, 2006 4:19 AM
Compared to other employment situations, it was good, and the pay made porters middle class. Remember that the porters did form a union; their strike was successful, and Randolph, one of the founders of the union, was also one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, (NAACP) along with Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, Reverand John Hayes Homes, and one other Protestant Minister whose name can be supplied by another reader.

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