Miles of Smiles, Years of Struggle

Stories of Black Pullman Porters
Author: Jack Santino
Illuminating the Pullman porters' struggle for dignity
Paper – $28
Publication Date
Paperback: 01/01/1991
Buy the Book Request Desk/Examination Copy Request Review Copy Request Rights or Permissions Request Alternate Format Preview

About the Book

As service workers in a luxurious sleeping-car train system, Pullman porters had both high status in the black community and the lowest rank on the train. They were trapped in the dual roles of charming host and obedient servant, and their constant smiles--even in the face of unreasonable demands by white passengers--were part of the job requirement.

Jack Santino's interviews with retired porters provide extensive firsthand accounts of their work, the job inequities they faced, the formation of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP), and the aborted Pullman porter strike of 1928. The testimony of rank-and-file workers stands beside that of key figures like E. D. Nixon, the porter who initiated the Montgomery bus boycott and helped launch the career of Martin Luther King Jr., and C. L. Dellums, the last surviving founding member of the BSCP.

About the Author

Jack Santino is a retired professor at Bowling Green State University. He is the editor of Halloween and Other Festivals of Death and Life.

Also by this author

All Around the Year cover


A publication of the American Folklore Society