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 Post subject: Re: Female engineers and Firemen in the steam era.
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 7:08 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
Posts: 1347
Location: Back in NE Ohio
About draft deferments during WWII. I had a long-time friend who turned 18 in 1943, and was able to hire out on the Pennsy in South Akron, Ohio yard as a fireman on a switcher for the duration of the war and was deferred as an essential worker. It was 16 hour days, six days a week, and you'd better not say anything about it, or you'd be done and they would be sure to tell your local draft board you were then available for service in the army.


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 Post subject: Re: Female engineers and Firemen in the steam era.
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 7:50 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 10:49 am
Posts: 697
Overmod wrote:
If I remember correctly, the issue of 'racism' was more extreme at the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen (which was the Brotherhood for the passed firemen and any who valued their 'history' after advancing to engineer status) -- incidentally I believe the ritual for this organization is the source of the expression 'riding the goat'.

While of course this requires much more careful fact-checking and perhaps scholars' attention, I think treating the Brotherhoods as monolithic on the issue of race, or sex, discrimination may need to be more carefully distinguished.


It was not only extreme, it was quite deadly. There are several accounts of black firemen being shot and killed while on duty, usually in the dark while taking water. None of the "major" rail unions had black members until the 1960's.


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 Post subject: Re: Female engineers and Firemen in the steam era.
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:06 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
Posts: 527
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Back in the day, I played schoolyard basketball with a Black guy who was conductor on the RR at the nearby steel plant. (50 ton 0-4-0 Whitcombs) He was an "old head" and I was a "young man" at the time. He was a good mentor to us.

We knew he couldn't be a conductor on either of the Class 1's that served the plant.

However he made Union Steelworker pay, had a good USW retirement plan, worked days Mon-Fri and was home every night.

Phil Mulligan


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 Post subject: Re: Female engineers and Firemen in the steam era.
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 9:36 pm 

Joined: Thu May 09, 2019 10:06 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Irvine, CA
stephenpiwowarski wrote:
That being said, both the WW&F and Nevada County Narrow Gauge claim ‘first female railroad President’ though NRNG was a few years earlier, I believe- the circumstances were similar- their husbands were the railway presidents and they became the railway’s presidents upon their husbands passing.


Somewhat similar to May Rindge, who became president of the Malibu Tidewater Railroad upon her husband's passing in 1905. Due to landowner issues, the line never reached Hueneme or Port Los Angeles as SP held the easement across Marquez Ranch, and similar landowner issues kept her from reaching the Bakersfield & Kern to the west.

Despite going from "nowhere to nowhere", the line has some very impressive structures such as the Paradise Cove Bridge seen below.
Image
(Photo Source)


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 Post subject: Re: Female engineers and Firemen in the steam era.
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 9:52 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:04 pm
Posts: 222
Txhighballer wrote:
Overmod wrote:
If I remember correctly, the issue of 'racism' was more extreme at the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen (which was the Brotherhood for the passed firemen and any who valued their 'history' after advancing to engineer status) -- incidentally I believe the ritual for this organization is the source of the expression 'riding the goat'.

While of course this requires much more careful fact-checking and perhaps scholars' attention, I think treating the Brotherhoods as monolithic on the issue of race, or sex, discrimination may need to be more carefully distinguished.


It was not only extreme, it was quite deadly. There are several accounts of black firemen being shot and killed while on duty, usually in the dark while taking water. None of the "major" rail unions had black members until the 1960's.


That is terrible. Working for the railroad has always been dangerous but imagine not knowing if you are coming back from a run or not. Brave men for sure. I remember reading that during the depression, the railroad "bulls" in some cities would shoot at hobo's as they went by. If they caught you it was guaranteed you would get a pretty hefty beating along with losing all your money.

I remember reading a story about how a group of African American porters formed their own railroad. I believe it was New York or somewhere around there in the early 1900's. Apparently the railroad was successful and eventually sold. I can imagine any artifacts from that railroad are extremely rare. Anyone know the name of that railroad.


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 Post subject: Re: Female engineers and Firemen in the steam era.
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 10:01 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 10:49 am
Posts: 697
Tom F wrote:
Txhighballer wrote:
Overmod wrote:
If I remember correctly, the issue of 'racism' was more extreme at the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen (which was the Brotherhood for the passed firemen and any who valued their 'history' after advancing to engineer status) -- incidentally I believe the ritual for this organization is the source of the expression 'riding the goat'.

While of course this requires much more careful fact-checking and perhaps scholars' attention, I think treating the Brotherhoods as monolithic on the issue of race, or sex, discrimination may need to be more carefully distinguished.


It was not only extreme, it was quite deadly. There are several accounts of black firemen being shot and killed while on duty, usually in the dark while taking water. None of the "major" rail unions had black members until the 1960's.


That is terrible. Working for the railroad has always been dangerous but imagine not knowing if you are coming back from a run or not. Brave men for sure. I remember reading that during the depression, the railroad "bulls" in some cities would shoot at hobo's as they went by. If they caught you it was guaranteed you would get a pretty hefty beating along with losing all your money.

I remember reading a story about how a group of African American porters formed their own railroad. I believe it was New York or somewhere around there in the early 1900's. Apparently the railroad was successful and eventually sold. I can imagine any artifacts from that railroad are extremely rare. Anyone know the name of that railroad.


Don't have the name of that railroad handy, but there have been only four railroads owned or operated by African Americans in the United States. That one, the Batten Kill Railroad, another one in Minnesota, and mine, Houston and Gulf Coast Railroad Services operating the South East International.


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 Post subject: Re: Female engineers and Firemen in the steam era.
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 11:54 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:51 pm
Posts: 1876
Location: Southern California
Sparky418 wrote:
Somewhat similar to May Rindge, who became president of the Malibu Tidewater Railroad upon her husband's passing in 1905. Due to landowner issues, the line never reached Hueneme or Port Los Angeles as SP held the easement across Marquez Ranch, and similar landowner issues kept her from reaching the Bakersfield & Kern to the west.
One reason for building the railroad was to keep the Southern Pacific from building a line across the Rindge family's property. Similarly, May Rindge fought off the development of a public road along the coast. This road was built and later become Pacific Coast Highway and California Route One.

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 Post subject: Re: Female engineers and Firemen in the steam era.
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 12:55 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 1118
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Tom F wrote:
Txhighballer wrote:
Overmod wrote:
If I remember correctly, the issue of 'racism' was more extreme at the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen (which was the Brotherhood for the passed firemen and any who valued their 'history' after advancing to engineer status) -- incidentally I believe the ritual for this organization is the source of the expression 'riding the goat'.

While of course this requires much more careful fact-checking and perhaps scholars' attention, I think treating the Brotherhoods as monolithic on the issue of race, or sex, discrimination may need to be more carefully distinguished.


It was not only extreme, it was quite deadly. There are several accounts of black firemen being shot and killed while on duty, usually in the dark while taking water. None of the "major" rail unions had black members until the 1960's.


That is terrible. Working for the railroad has always been dangerous but imagine not knowing if you are coming back from a run or not. Brave men for sure. I remember reading that during the depression, the railroad "bulls" in some cities would shoot at hobo's as they went by. If they caught you it was guaranteed you would get a pretty hefty beating along with losing all your money.

I remember reading a story about how a group of African American porters formed their own railroad. I believe it was New York or somewhere around there in the early 1900's. Apparently the railroad was successful and eventually sold. I can imagine any artifacts from that railroad are extremely rare. Anyone know the name of that railroad.


The unions in the South quite often got away with literal murder. Black brakemen were also subject to intimidation and assassination.

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 Post subject: Re: Female engineers and Firemen in the steam era.
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 3:31 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 03, 2020 1:51 pm
Posts: 74
But why they did kill people simple as that? Just to take theyr jobs?

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 Post subject: Re: Female engineers and Firemen in the steam era.
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 5:44 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5859
Location: southeastern USA
It was more a political than economic statement horrific as it is to our understanding. While the North won our Civil War and achieved emancipation, the South ended up winning the Reconstruction Era and we're still stuck in that era in many respects today. There's a cultural imperative against learning and rational discourse that has stretched it out for well over 150 years. Our national mythology also doesn't encourage honest consideration of our history, prefers it to facts. There's one committee in Texas that approves school textbooks that uses its buying power to require removal of unpleasant realities if publishers want to get their books approved for purchase nationally since the margin on textbooks doesn't allow for varied editions. In my area, white "natives" (whose families may have only been here for 75 or 80 years, long after the war) obtain a cultural identity that includes - in most cases unconsciously - assumed white supremacy even though they wouldn't consider themselves bigots and work with people from every ancestry without incident. It's inexplicable from a rational perspective.

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Corollary: "He who does is doomed to watch those who don't repeat it anyway."


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 Post subject: Re: Female engineers and Firemen in the steam era.
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 6:00 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 1118
Location: Tucson, Arizona
djl wrote:
But why they did kill people simple as that? Just to take theyr jobs?


Basically just to terrorize them out of jobs that were rightly theirs. In a few rare cases, management stood up to the unions. Mississippi was a bad place to be a black railroader, as it seems that more of them got killed in Mississippi than anywhere else.

One road that stood up for its black employees was the Houston East and West Texas. Back in the twenties, the white fireman's union demanded that the road fire the black firemen. Management pointed out that the black firemen had stayed with the road during the last labor unrest while the white firemen picketed. The management told the union that they would not fire the black employees.

As a historian, I am bound to recognize that the unions were a big roadblock to equal rights. They actively worked against the acceptance of minority railroaders and their membership in many areas followed the racist ideals promulgated by white supremacy groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. Once you peel away the veneer of "unions standing for the working man", you see a lot of unsavory innards. They stood for the working man, as long as that man was white. Literally. They fought integration wherever possible, which included the federal government. They were undoubtedly a factor in Woodrow Wilson's application of segregation in federal employment. At the time that Wilson entered office, the United States Post Office was one of the most integrated work forces in the country, especially the Railway Mail Service. Wilson's appointees made certain that he got rid of the black employees, completely undoing all of the progress made by black postal employees since the end of the Civil War. Wilson is widely recognized by many historians to have been a die hard racist.

As far as cockamamie workplace rules established by the unions that clearly illustrate their disregard for black railroaders, here's one: if a locomotive had a black fireman, the locomotive must be manually fired, even if equipped with a mechanical stoker. That's rule really existed. Black firemen were prohibited from using labor saving devices. Whites did not (as a rule) see the position of fireman as desirable until the advent of the mechanical stoker. After that, they sought to limit the advancement of blacks and worked to eliminate them entirely from train and engine service.

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 Post subject: Re: Female engineers and Firemen in the steam era.
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 8:41 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:29 pm
Posts: 383
The unions in northern states were terribley racist. My father was a union man and was surprised at the racist attitudes he discovered when we moved "up north" for work. They told him that since he talked like a person of color (mild southern accent) he would have to work only with people of color. He did and they got along well...helped several of them get their journeyman cards and advance. Places like New York City and Cincinnati had their fill of black workers moving north looking for work...and locals did NOT take kindly to this and revolted. So don't always heap racism on southerners....it's a sickness that affected people all over the country.
To answer some other questions: The roster I saw did indeed have black engineers listed. I would just say that not every engineer assignment was equal...drilling freight cars in a remote yard, at night...in the winter...is not a job that everybody would want. Ask any crew-caller. So...I can only guess that those jobs went to black crews.
And regarding women and bathrooms: Not every train was a crack passenger train with plush coaches available...the world was not a Lionel train set. The "cubby" lady firemen
(no senority) would likely be working in the same dark, remote switch yard as the black crewman. Where the dangers are plenty and the pleasures are few...and there are NO bathrooms.
T7


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 Post subject: Re: Female engineers and Firemen in the steam era.
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 9:16 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 10:49 am
Posts: 697
Alan Walker wrote:
djl wrote:
But why they did kill people simple as that? Just to take theyr jobs?


Basically just to terrorize them out of jobs that were rightly theirs. In a few rare cases, management stood up to the unions. Mississippi was a bad place to be a black railroader, as it seems that more of them got killed in Mississippi than anywhere else.

One road that stood up for its black employees was the Houston East and West Texas. Back in the twenties, the white fireman's union demanded that the road fire the black firemen. Management pointed out that the black firemen had stayed with the road during the last labor unrest while the white firemen picketed. The management told the union that they would not fire the black employees.

As a historian, I am bound to recognize that the unions were a big roadblock to equal rights. They actively worked against the acceptance of minority railroaders and their membership in many areas followed the racist ideals promulgated by white supremacy groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. Once you peel away the veneer of "unions standing for the working man", you see a lot of unsavory innards. They stood for the working man, as long as that man was white. Literally. They fought integration wherever possible, which included the federal government. They were undoubtedly a factor in Woodrow Wilson's application of segregation in federal employment. At the time that Wilson entered office, the United States Post Office was one of the most integrated work forces in the country, especially the Railway Mail Service. Wilson's appointees made certain that he got rid of the black employees, completely undoing all of the progress made by black postal employees since the end of the Civil War. Wilson is widely recognized by many historians to have been a die hard racist.

As far as cockamamie workplace rules established by the unions that clearly illustrate their disregard for black railroaders, here's one: if a locomotive had a black fireman, the locomotive must be manually fired, even if equipped with a mechanical stoker. That's rule really existed. Black firemen were prohibited from using labor saving devices. Whites did not (as a rule) see the position of fireman as desirable until the advent of the mechanical stoker. After that, they sought to limit the advancement of blacks and worked to eliminate them entirely from train and engine service.


I had heard of that rule and was told it was predominate on southern railroads. Common also was putting both sets of injector controls on the engineers' side so the mostly black firemen would not have the added responsibility of putting water in the boiler.


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 Post subject: Re: Female engineers and Firemen in the steam era.
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 9:38 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2017 10:32 am
Posts: 94
One of Ron Ziel's books, I believe "Steam In The Sixties", mentions that the crew of the Rockton and Rion's trains was African American.

John


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 Post subject: Re: Female engineers and Firemen in the steam era.
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 11:55 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:51 pm
Posts: 1876
Location: Southern California
The "racism" of "not being like us" has been around a long time in many forms. The Irish immigrants, Italian immigrants, Jewish immigrants to name a few. It also was/is due to religion.

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