locked Re: Southern segregation question in 1946


John Stewart
 

HI Ike

 

The social justice aspects of rail and industrial history are a wide field, and one that I personally leave to others (for which I am occasionally criticized mightily).  But nevertheless I leave that to others, unless it is important to the item I am researching… (my judgement).

 

I am more of a “plant and methods” amateur historian, related to mostly Birmingham Industrial District rail and industrial history.  Lord knows there is a lot of social history in the Birmingham District, but I let others worry about it…

 

Just an observation.

 

John

 

John R Stewart

www.bhamrails.info

205-901-3790

 

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From: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io [mailto:main@SouthernRailway.groups.io] On Behalf Of George Eichelberger
Sent: Friday, September 4, 2020 1:58 PM
To: main@southernrailway.groups.io
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] Southern segregation question in 1946

 

John:

 

There is an entire “story” about this. My interest is simply in “straight down the middle” history and I’d like to see more published on this topic published in a straightforward way

 

There are a group of, usually handwritten, notes in the archives where Conductors (who would be “white” in the era we are talking about) wrote SR management about how they thought it was wrong for them, to have to go through a train, find “colored” passengers and tell them they had to move to a segregated car as the train approached a State line where Jim Crow laws were in effect. Their concern was simply they were “good customers” deserving better treatment, not that they were making a point.

 

The last place where this occurred (to my limited knowledge) was on trains going from NC and DC into VA.

 

Ike

 

PS I have received a remarkable number of inquiries over the years where people, usually writing books, asked about segregated Pullman facilities, usually to describe how blacks could not ride in them. I heard everything from disbelief to outright consternation when I wrote that Pullmans were NOT segregated. Anyone who could pay for a ticket could book whatever Pullman space they wanted.

 

 

On Sep 4, 2020, at 11:32 AM, John Stewart <jstew@...> wrote:

 

HI Ike

 

Sad but interesting.  

 

I never thought about how segregated facilities cost businesses money

 

John

 

John R Stewart

205-901-3790

 

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From: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io [mailto:main@SouthernRailway.groups.io] On Behalf Of George Eichelberger
Sent: Thursday, September 3, 2020 8:28 PM
To: main@southernrailway.groups.io
Subject: [SouthernRailway] Southern segregation question in 1946

 

Contrary to what many people might assume, the Southern did not like how “Jim Crow” laws effected their passenger operations and equipment designs. There are multiple memos and letters in the Southern Presidents’ and passenger car files on the subject. (The Southern held up the construction of Washington Union Station because the plans did not include a washroom for its “colored” Firemen…a story for another day…)

 

The attached memo from Harry DeButts was written as the Southern was just beginning its post-war lightweight passenger car programs.

 

Ike

 

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