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Railroads in the African American Experience: A

A 2010 illustrated non-fiction book by Theodore Kornweibel Jr.

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A Quick Tip by hawthorne82

  • Jul 1, 2010
My grandfather absolutely loves trains. i got him this book for fathers day and he hasn't put it down. And I can't get him to shut up! He has so many stories about the rail systems that run through and around the sleepy little town they live in. He can tell me all about the trains and when they were designed. This is a great book for collectors, train lovers and enthusiasts.
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More Railroads in the African Ameri... reviews
review by . December 05, 2009
An extremely important addition to the literature on the African-American experience in America.
Theodore Kornweibel Jr. has had a fascination with railroads all of this life.  While studying for his PhD in African-American Studies at Yale in the late 1960's Korneweibel worked as a volunteer gandy dancer (track maintainance worker) on a small tourist railroad in eastern Connecticut.  This experience sparked his lifelong interest in railroading.  Kornweibel went on to become a distinguished professor of African-American Studies at San Diego State University and is the author …
review by . November 04, 2009
This hefty book - over 500 oversize pages - is a fascinating compendium of information about the railroad business and how it affected the lives of African Americans. By extension, it is a wonderful window on American history, as the building of railroad lines that criss-crossed the US opened up the possibility of easy travel for all Americans.    What I didn't realize before reading this book is that many miles of railroad tracks were actually built by slaves. In the South, …
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Carla Chu ()
Ranked #1136
I apologize for not having a proper photo of myself. I don't have the means to do so. I work in a pharmacy. I love going to the movies, reading, walking through the cemetery close to my house. I have … more
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About this book


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...

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ISBN-10: 0801891620
ISBN-13: 978-0801891625
Author: Theodore Kornweibel Jr.
Genre: Business & Investing
Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
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