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Could you please explain me in details what was in the times of Martin Luther King the association "BROTHERHOOD OF SLEEPING CAR PORTERS"? What does it mean "PORTER" in this case?
I have another question, that is what was a" BLACK TRADE UNION" in America?
I found these words and phrases indicated in the context below:

"They were Clifford and Virginia Durr, and Edgar D. Nixon Mr. and Mrs. Durr were white. He was a lawyer,and they were both active members of the civil rights movement.
E.D. Nixon,a black man,was regional director of the BROTHERHOOD OF SLEEPING CAR PORTERS,the first BLACK TRADE UNION in America."

Unfortunately I'm Italian and I strive to improve American English and American culture.

         Thank you.

=Porter= is from the French verb of the same spelling ("to carry"), as in "to carry suitcases."

=Sleeping car porter= is a servant in the sleeping car of a train.  His duty is to carry suitcases and keep the sleeping car of the train clean.


A labor union is a group of workers (laborers) who form a group to force employers to treat them fairly:  wages, health insurance, and vacation.  A labor union is also called a trade union because it was formed around a specific job:  masons, electricians, railroad workers, etc.

When a trade union/labor union is formed it is said to be "organized".

A "black trade union" is one that is organized by and made up of African-Americans.  

Since black workers (African-American workers) were treated very unfairly, no matter what their profession was BUT did not have freedom to speak out against unfair treatment by their employers, the fact that they formed a trade union was remarkable.


The Civil Rights Movement was for equal pay for the same job for black Americans as for white Americans.

Ironically, today, most women are paid less than men are for the same work.  This is true whether the women are black or white.

Martin Luther King, a minister of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.  (An =Ebenezer= is a pile of rocks or some other way to mark a place where God offered assistance.  See Samuel I, chapter 7.) He was a key figure in the Civil Rights Movement, preaching many sermons and giving many community speeches.


Another important aspect of the Civil Rights Movement was to end discrimination.  This meant black students went to schools as good as white students, rather than went to school in run-down buildings and not have sufficient books.  (The white students had new buildings and plenty of books.)  Another aspect of discrimination was separate entrances (usually at the back of the building) for black people; whites went in the front door.  There were also separate bathrooms and drinking fountains.  Black people could not use those things that were for whites. is where Rosa Parks is people were also supposed to sit in the back of the bus.  Rosa Parks refused.  She sat in the front.

The Civil Rights Movement also addressed the problem of getting black Americans to the polls to vote.  


I hope I have answered your question!

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Martha Beth Lewis


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