locked Re: Jim Crow Coaches

George Eichelberger


You are correct of course. My thought when I made that comment to Bill Withun was the entire question of segregation on the Southern needed someone with a broad knowledge of the subject…not necessairly direct personal knowledge. Part of my logic was not wanting the message to be dulled or misinterpreted by anyone thinking the author was "grinding his own axe" with the story.

After another few years of being deeply involved in gathering and organizing Southern Railway history, it is clear to me that FACTS are all that matter. SRHA has no authority to speak for the Southern, now NS but we may have the “purest” reason to call out the Smithsonian for what I see as a gross ignorance of historical data (those pesky facts) by allowing someone to spin a story out of thin air about how colored travelers had to contend with their luggage piled on the floor around them.

Fighting and suing Kennesaw initially looked impossible. They cost us money and time but they knew the facts were on our side and we would not give up….. I (and others) think that may be the case with the Smithsonian now.

More as things develop….


On Apr 8, 2019, at 4:11 PM, A&Y Dave in MD <dbott@...> wrote:

Why can’t a white guy write the article?  Ike, you have the evidence, that’s reason enough to set the facts right, just as much as a young black woman had the reason to refuse to move from her seat on a bus. The color of skin should not matter in either case. 

Why should you be hesitant to set the record straight? Preserving accurate portrayals of the facts is what historical societies should be doing!

I’ll donate $100 to SRHA if Smithsonian posts your article. My money is where my mouth is.


Sent from Dave Bott' iPhone

On Apr 7, 2019, at 9:04 PM, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

The description of the Jim Crow car is unacceptable! We have an entire file of hand written notes from Southern Conductors that were forced to move families as their trains entered or left Jim Crow states saying how wrong the practice was. Let set the stage circa 1960s…..”white” conductors saying Jim Crow laws were wrong that worked for a company with its charter in Richmond.

I told Bill Withun about the Union Station washrooms and showed him the notes from conductors. His response was to ask me to write an article for the Smithsonian Magazine because my description of the Southern Railway’s attitudes about race were probably not what people would expect. I told him as a “white guy” I was probably not the right person for such an article.

After knowing how much information the Smithsonian had from SRHA and then to read the crap on their web site about the car has to be dealt with…and will be!


On Apr 7, 2019, at 8:41 PM, Ed Mims <wemims@...> wrote:

The article about this car is a disgrace and something that an institution like the Smithsonian should be ashamed of. As Ike said it is pure BS. 

The history of Jim Crow Laws and the treatment of African Americans is not what is in question here.

Ed Mims

On Apr 7, 2019, at 4:23 PM, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

Ed and everyone…..

Please run the link to Smithsonian.com at the beginning of this post and read what they say about the car…..

Total BS not worthy of them!


On Apr 7, 2019, at 3:44 PM, Ed Mims <wemims@...> wrote:

I think Floquil had a color they called “Coach Green “ which is close to the color The Smithsonian used. They should know to check things like this.

Ed Mims

On Apr 7, 2019, at 11:22 AM, O Fenton Wells <srrfan1401@...> wrote:

According to the car specs it was Pullman Green No.4.  Sides and roof.  
Also if you look at the Passenger Car Diagram Book, by Bill Schafer although the restrooms in the 1200 are not labeled colored or white on page 58 the PS Jim Crow cars from 1940, 900-905 inclusive, the large restrooms were labeled Colored.  Also on page 77 these partitioned cars, from 1934, also had the larger restrooms labeled colored. I doubt if SR had changed that designation when 1200 was rebuilt in the 1930.  Plus the Jim Crow cars were some of the first cars that SR AC'ed after the dining cars in the mid 1930"s.  I believe that the Smithsonian got it wrong.  

On Sun, Apr 7, 2019 at 10:31 AM George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:
We can dig through the specs on the rebuilds, or better yet ask George Walker at TVRM, but I prefer to say (maybe incorrectly) the passenger car color is "Southern" green rather than "Pullman". Very close but not exactly the same thing. Does anyone have specifc info?

Fenton Wells
250 Frye Rd
Pinehurst NC 28374

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