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100,000 Black Men Named George

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Film Critique “10,000 Black Men named George”

After the Civil War, Railroads became the largest industry of this time. George Pullman hired out former slaves to work on his sleeper cars. The film “10,000 Black Men named George” focuses on how a man named A. Phillip Randolph helped establish the first Black union for Pullman Porter workers. This Union was called the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. During this time, of Pullman Company travelers referred to the black Porters as “George”, derived from “George Pullman.” The film begins with a black Porter catching a white female passenger stealing towels and amenities from her room on the sleeping car. The black Porter; who the white passenger refers to as “George”, catches her in the act of putting the items into her briefcase. The Porter pleads with the passenger to please return the items in her briefcase because if not the Pullman Company will take the items out of their paycheck. The “Georges’” were severely underpaid, as little as $60 a month. The Porters were also only paid for daytime hours. If a porter was caught sleeping he would be fired, or if a passenger made the smallest complaint he would be fired.
A. Phillip Randolph was trying to promote his magazine “The Messenger.” The Messenger was a monthly magazine which campaigned against lynching, opposed U.S. participation in World War I, urged African Americans to resist being drafted, to fight for an integrated society. The Porters grew tired of being treated as slaves instead of employees working for pay. One Porter comes to Randolph and asks him to witness being a Porter for himself, and to help the Pullman Porters establish a black Union.
The Pullman Company tries to bribe, threaten, and even intimidate Randolph to step down from possibly establishing this union. Randolph dedicated his life to fighting for civil rights and ultimately establishing the first black Union which was the “Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.”…...

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