A 2010 illustrated non-fiction book by Theodore Kornweibel Jr.< read all 3 reviews
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This captivating book takes readers on an illustrated tour of the black railroad experience from slavery to Amtrak. With almost 200 images -- many never before published -- Theodore Kornweibel, Jr., examines the significant contributions of African Americans to the building, maintenance, operation, and profitability of the American railway system.
The history of American railroads, Kornweibel makes clear, cannot be separated from African American history. For over a century, railroading provided the most important industrial occupation for blacks. Brakemen, firemen, porters, chefs, mechanics, laborers -- African Americans of both sexes have been essential to the daily operation and success of American railroads. The connections between railroads and African Americans extend well beyond employment. Civil rights protests beginning in the late 19th century challenged railroad segregation and job discrimination; the major waves of black migration to the North depended almost entirely on railroads; and railroad themes and imagery penetrated deep into black art, literature, drama, folklore, and music.
Kornweibel's visual presentation of this rich history brings to life the hundreds of thousands of blacks who toiled for decades on America's great rail system. Each chapter of text focuses on a different occupation or railroading experience, some peculiar to blacks. Together, the evocative images and the complementary essays supply a comprehensive and powerful survey of the...