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View Diary: Books So Good They're Good: Civil Rights Edition (32 comments)

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  •  Here's one you've probably never seen (13+ / 0-)

    Railroads in the African American Experience: A Photographic Journey by Theodore Kornweibel Jr.

    It's an amazing collection of pictures, art work, history, culture and more detailing the interlinked history of African Americans and the railroads in this country. Kornweibel makes connections you'd never suspect, and documents a number of things that may come as a surprise.

    For example, there was a trade off between using slaves or immigrant labor to build railroads in the south early on. See, disease was a real problem in building through some regions. Immigrants were replaceable by more immigrants; slaves were valuable property.

    After the Civil War, railroads were how many African Americans 'escaped' to the north, to the point that southern states tried to discourage the migration. And railroad jobs were how an African American middle class first really began to grow.

    He looks at the problem of racism and unions, how some jobs were not open to African Americans. He looks at how much African American culture turned around railroads - jobs, travel, stereotypes.

    There is a massive amount of information in the book. I suspect many people who think they know railroad history will be surprised - and they'll also find a lot of historic photographs.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 07:24:33 PM PST

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