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Canada History Week 2019: Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters

Canada History Week 2019: Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters


Despite the steady wages and the adventure of travel, the work was not easy. We left our families for weeks at a time, sleeping no more than three hours a night. Porters were at every passenger’s beck and call. We had no identification to wear. When passengers wanted attention, they just called you “George.” My name’s not “George.” In 1943, we joined the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. For the first time, we had job security, reduced work hours, increased wages and, above all, some dignity. Later, the Brotherhood negotiated, and finally, each porter was issued two plastic name cards, placed in wall holders at each end of the sleeping car — inviting passengers to call us by our names.

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2 thoughts on “Canada History Week 2019: Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters

  1. Wow but they still didn’t let you wear a name tag did they… the level of racism and oppression in our past (and in many regards our present) is appalling!

  2. The illustrator from our kindergarden textbooks in the 70s and 80s. How about a beaver on a log? You have to have a beaver on a log.

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