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With DePaul as Partner, Database will be most comprehensive ever

The A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum will embark upon a bold and ambitious campaign to collect, compile and create an online depository of all the names of the Pullman Porters and on-board Crew throughout history. This venture is part of the Museum’s ongoing mission to herald and honor the lives and legacies of African Americans in the railroad industry – particularly Pullman Porters.

The official announcement will be made at the Museum’s 20th anniversary gala to be held February 28 from 5-9PM at the Historic Parkway Ballroom, 4455 S. King Drive, Chicago, Illinois.

This thrust represents a continuation of the first outreach effort that was launched in 2001. At that time, the Museum issued a call and fanned the information out worldwide asking for descendants to the names of Pullman Porters as part of an anthology on the history of African Americans who worked on the railroad from early 1900’s to 1969.

By 2008, the Museum received over 4,000 responses. The names were in a stand-alone index included in the book authored by Museum founder, Dr. Lyn Hughes.  Titled, An Anthology of Respect: The Pullman Porters National Historic Registry Of African American Railroad Employees, the book was hailed as one of the most exhaustive and thorough references about the Black Railroad history.

After the publication of the anthology, the Museum was bombarded with requests from thousands of Pullman Porter and other African-American railroad employee descendants who became aware of the publication  — but after the anthology had been published. With a determination to compile the most definitive compendium, Dr. Hughes and Museum principals are reviving the search.

The Museum’s efforts will be strengthened by a recent collaboration with DePaul University. In addition to the power of the Internet and the broad reach of social media, this partnership will also allow the Museum to take advantage of the University’s wealth of online resources and multi-media platforms. Once completed, Dr. Hughes says the Museum will boast the premiere source for accessing the names of all porters and other African Americans who worked and impacted the era when railroad travel was king.

The registry will be housed and accessed at the Museum at 10406 S. Maryland in Chicago’s Pullman community. With the registry as part of its many offerings, the compendium strengthens the Museum’s iconic position as the only cultural institution devoted to showcasing the history of the Black union movement, the era of the Pullman Porters and A. Philip Randolph’s trailblazing leadership.

Dr. Hughes projects that the database will be completed and accessible by June 2015. She said the updated registry will be a “treasure trove” of information for researchers, teachers, union members, students, the curious and all wishing to enhance and grow their knowledge of this era and these pioneers.

Dr. Hughes says this registry is an extension of the Museum’s mission and stature within the Museum community worldwide. “The A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum is the only Museum worldwide exclusively dedicated to showcasing the lives and legacies of the Pullman Porter, the black union movement and A. Philip Randolph. Their breakthrough achievements will be given added exposure through this registry. This will be the database of record for those seeking the most authentic and comprehensive information on this historic struggle and monumental era.”
For more information on the Registry and on the Museum’s 20th anniversary gala, log on to www.aprpullmanportermuseum.org

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