Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Pullman Porter

Author Vanita Oelschlager and artist Mike Blanc teamed up to create a beautifully illustrated and written book for young readers about the Pullman Porters of railroad's heyday.
The work was often grueling and poorly paid, but it was considered a prestigious job for African Americans (many of whom, in the early days, were ex-slaves). The book is short, 44 pages, but each is beautifully illustrated and the text is accessible and well written.

I can imagine this being a useful book in a classroom setting, as a part of a unit on post Civil War America, as a background book for a unit on ethnic diversity and roles in America, or as a study unit on railroads/travel.

I remember when I was a child, traveling from Pittsburgh to Boston and Cape Cod every summer.  We traveled by train, and even in the 60s and early 70s it was a wonderful adventure.

This book does not sugar-coat or play down the degrading and often dangerous work which was required of the porters.  They were expected to purchase and maintain their uniforms and even to buy the shoe-polish they used.

Well researched and factual, I learned a lot about the history of the Pullman porters and the afterword even lists some of the more famous of their descendants.

Five stars
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.

No comments:

Post a Comment