You are here:

General Writing and Grammar Help/REQUEST OF EXPLANATIONS ABOUT WORSD AND PHRASES TAKEN FROM THE AMERICAN BOOK "ROSA PARKS FREEDOM RIDER" BY KEITH BRANDTH ANDJOANNE MATTERN

Advertisement


Question
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.
         GIULIANO

Answer
Hi Giuliano, great question. I actually had to look this one up myself as I wasn't sure of all of the context in detail.

Both of these references come from the Civil Rights Movement period in American History. This was a period of time where segregation was blatant and rampant among American society. People were segregated based on the color of their skin. Although slavery was officially over, white people and black people were not allowed to socialize together, or do many functions together. The "Black Trade Union" is simply a "Trade Union" that operated exclusively for black Americans. This was necessary because the "regular" trade unions often would not allow black Americans to join because of segregation, so the black Americans made their own trade union.

I had no idea what the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters was. I had to look that up. Apparently, it was an organization for sleeping car porters, but that was still unknown to me. After a little a digging I figured it out. A "Sleeping Car" is a type of railroad car that began service in 1830. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleeping_car). They still use them today in long-distance train travel, but most people travel by plane or by car, so it's not as common as it once was. The Sleeping Car Porter was a person who attended to the needs of a passenger in the Sleeping Cars. They would make the beds and help people with their luggage and run other small errands for the passengers. The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters was the name of the trade union for the porters who worked in the sleeping cars in the railroad industry.

I hope that helps!

Kind Regards,
-Johnathan  

General Writing and Grammar Help

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Johnathan Clayborn

Expertise

I can answer a broad range of questions about both academic and creative writing. I can answer questions about APA format, research and references, essay structure and more. I am particularly helpful in the areas of character development, storyline development, etc. and I can provide authors with an array of tools to help them organize their work.

Experience

I minored in English for my Bachelor's degree. I have also written several books and I run a small publishing company (before you ask, we're not accepting submissions at this time). I have written both fiction and non-fiction books and I have been published in newspapers and written articles for major internet websites.

Organizations
Alpha Chi, Psi Chi, Kappa Delta Pi, APA

Education/Credentials
MS, Educational Psychology, BS Psychology (English minor)

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.