locked Re: Jim Crow Coaches

George Eichelberger

I agree with Fenton's comments 100%!

Every year, I get at least one letter, usually from someone that says they are working on a novel, asking about how the Southern dealt with race relations. It is never hard to "read between the lines" and see that the writer is only interested in "proving" a pre-conceived notion about the subject. If asked, I always mentioned the segregated area in dining cars and the fact that Pullmans were not segregated. I'm not sure anyone believed the latter.

A story I have told before is how the Southern Railway held up the construction of Washington Union Station because it did not have a washroom for its colored firemen. The Southern was the only railroad into DC with colored firemen so the PRR, RF&P and B&O simply did not care about it. The letter denying SR approval was not well received in Philadelphia and Baltimore but the Southern would not yield "they are members of the Southern family" and a colored washroom was added to the facilities at Ivy City. That attitude, written about 1902 remained Southern policy to the end of Jim Crow. (VA was the last state that effected SR passenger trains.)


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