Dignity: priceless.

by baldilocks

Black History Month

At Instapundit, Ed Driscoll points to a link illustrating the grandeur of flying as a passenger on the late Pan-Am Airlines and a commenter mentions the former grandeur of train travel.

That got me to thinking about those who provided much of that grandeur: the Pullman Porters. As a young man, one of my grandfathers worked as a Porter.

George Pullman, an industrialist who pioneered the world’s first popular sleeper trains, was obsessed with bringing luxury and convenience to the growing railroad industry after the Civil War. He did so by building “palace cars” complete with chandeliers, comfortable beds, air conditioning, and gourmet meals served by former slaves turned porters.

Slaves had already done the hard work of building many of the United States’ railroad lines. Pullman, who was as shrewd a businessman as he was a showman, felt that servant-like attendants would give riders an even keener sense of comfort and self-indulgence. So he hired former slaves—known to be cheap workers—to staff his palace cars. As historian Larry Tye writes, the saying went, “Abe Lincoln freed the slaves and George Pullman hired ’em.”

They were forced to answer to the name “George” 

Just because slavery had ended, that didn’t mean that the job of a Pullman porter was dignified. Pullman porters were often addressed by the name “George”—a name that was based in the social standards of slavery itself. As Lawrence Tye writes for the Alicia Patterson Foundation, at some point porters began to be addressed by their employer’s first name, just as a slave would be addressed by his master’s name before emancipation.

This humiliation was heightened by the seemingly endless job description porters were expected to fulfill. As the Museum of the American Railroad notes, Pullman porters were “essentially at the beck and call of first-class passengers” but expected to be “otherwise invisible.” They did everything from shining shoes to carrying baggage to making beds. In some cases, they were even forced to sing and dance by condescending customers.

Pullman porters occupied a special place within the African-American community

Despite routine discrimination, a job at Pullman had real benefits. Pullman porters were well-traveled and rubbed shoulders with America’s elites. They were what Crew calls “a conduit into what the larger society might be thinking and doing.

“Train travel was a primary mode of transportation in this country up until the 1950s,” says Crew. In a time when many black men lacked mobility and steady work, Pullman porters were vital sources of community information.

“Pullman porters would bring African-American newspapers like the Chicago Defender or Pittsburgh Courier back to their communities,” Crew tells Smithsonian.com. Those newspapers, he said, gave Southerners information on how and where they could escape the segregation and violence they experienced at home.

Read the whole thing.

Pullman Porter Museum

By the way, guess what killed Pan-Am.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done on February 2017! Follow her on Twitter.

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This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other federal agency.

China is not an Asian version of the United States.  It is an imperialistic power that through its 3,000+ year history has sought, in times of power, to turn its neighbors into tributary states, and in times of weakness, to retreat from the world and preserve their gains.  After a humiliating 20th century, where European powers and the Japanese empire exploited China and her people, she is now poised to become a peer competitor to the United States.

Which is exactly why we should fight in the South China Sea.

China is playing an extremely smart long game.  By slowly degrading our alliances and building its Navy, China is set to simply own the South China Sea by default in 5-10 years.  China is best served by the US doing nothing.  Given the last 8 years of US inaction, they have gotten exactly that.  Pressing for war in the South China Sea short circuits this plan.

But let’s not duke it out like China wants. In a bizarre twist, China is now quite similar to pre-World War 2 Japan.  They own a lot of small islands that are difficult to defend and supply, spread out over a large area and contain little to no resources.  Japan expected the US to attack island by island.  Instead, the US hopped around islands and choked out the strongholds, causing them to die on the vine or be destroyed by local forces.  China’s “wall of sand” appears eerily similar.

They are also very vulnerable to economic disruption.  The western provinces of China are not tamed, and although China has tried to develop the region (and outbreed the locals), the western provinces are still quite susceptible to disruption.  This means China relies heavily on the sea for trade and economic prosperity.  Unleashing the US Navy with unrestricted economic warfare, similar to the unrestricted submarine warfare unleashed on Japan, would threaten China’s basic way of life.

A fight with China would be hard.  But China stands to lose much more than the US.

View more of NG36B’s writing here.


Now, by my mother’s son, and that’s myself,
It shall be moon, or star, or what I list,
Or ere I journey to your father’s house.
Go on, and fetch our horses back again.
Evermore cross’d and cross’d; nothing but cross’d!

The Taming of the Shrew Act 4 Scene 5
If there is one thing that I am constantly accused of by people who know me it’s being a sucker.

Like my father before me I find it very difficult to believe the worst of individuals or to presume less than noble motives to the actions of people I encounter.  In many ways this is a positive thing and a Christian act, for example to be guilty of moral sin once must, in addition to acting deliberately on a grave matter, have full understanding of the sinful nature of the deeds involved.

An example of this kind of thing comes in this post from instapundit linking Rex Murphy at the National Post concerning the book 1984:

As the gathered crowd got more agitated, masked ‘black bloc’ activists began hurling projectiles including bricks, lit fireworks and rocks at the building and police. Some used police barriers as battering rams to attack the doors of the venue, breaching at least one of the doors and entering the venue on the first floor.”

Now what do we call it when people in black uniforms and face masks storm a speaking venue, assault attendees, light fires and throw bricks at police with the express purpose of shutting down a speech? Would “fascist” work for you? In this context, and remembering it is a university campus where this outrage was perpetrated, I think fascist will serve quite nicely.

Murphy notes that the actions of these folk are objectively fascist but thanks sheer ignorance of inexperienced youth who can say things like this with a straight face:

One pureblood nitwit at the event whined that it wasn’t Milo’s talk, per se, that triggered her, but that she feared that in some future class she might unwittingly be sitting next to someone who had attended it.

Thus the cowardly fear of, dare I saw association, expressed by a phrase which could have easily been uttered a century ago in the Jim Crow South, suddenly makes joining what was essentially a lynch mob unable to reach it’s target an act of courage.

Now one might forgive such ignorance among college who aren’t familiar with the “Sturmabteilung” and don’t know it when they see it,  particularly in the mirror, but as Stacy McCain notes one can’t extend that same ignorance to someone like the spokesman for the Sierra Club claiming their efforts supporting Planned Parenthood & Abortion are about population sustainability given basic facts:

The total fertility rate in the United States is already substantially below the so-called “replacement” level (2.1 average lifetime births per woman), so why is “the number of people we have” such a problem for the Sierra Club? Isn’t the real problem that the Sierra Club is a Democrat Party lobbying group, which is trying to reduce the number of Americans who vote Republican?

The Sierra Club’s annual budget is about $100 million. How much of that money are they spending in Somalia and Malawi? None, I’ll bet.

No, the Sierra Club spends its money from liberal donors to elect Democrat politicians whom it then lobbies to enact liberal policies. Whether these policies are actually helping the environment is less important to liberal donors than whether they’re helping the Democrat Party.

Thus we see, as in many a Shakespearean Play, a disguise of environmentalism to fool the simple, but there are those who like Katherine play along with this deception for the sake of their political goal thus pretending this pattern doesn’t exist:

So, what’s the pattern? How do fascists take power? First, they are angry with election results or how the country is being run. Then fascists use militant tactics to force the population into supporting, or acquiescing in, their cause, even though most citizens don’t actually support the fascist agenda.

Today, some persons who claim to oppose fascism have started using fascist techniques, such as blockading roads and other modes of transit into the city, perpetrating violence against those who disagree with them politically, and using fear to suppress those who have different political views. But using fascist techniques is never right, and if you just removed “we will fight the fascists” from the Occupy Oakland tweet, it could be easily mistaken for a quote from Benito Mussolini, Francisco Franco, or Adolf Hitler.

And having sat quietly in media pools listening to reporters speak freely to each other confident that all agreed when I see headlines like this:
becomes this:

I’m afraid experience precludes my normal assumptions of the good will of those involved and conclude that the goal of advancing the political goal, the defeat of Trump and conservatism, defeats the need for accuracy or even propriety which is why a venerable name like Newsweek can look at violence and rioting and say…

and do so with a straight face mimicing virtue,their Hollywood allies would be proud, but I suspect that while this post calls it a Shakespearean revival it will likely finish more like a Greek Tragedy in the end.

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