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U.S. History/REQUEST OF EXPLANATIONS ABOUT WORSD AND PHRASES TAKEN FROM THE AMERICAN BOOK "ROSA PARKS FREEDOM RIDER" BY KEITH BRANDTH ANDJOANNE MATTERN

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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
Hello,

A porter is a person on a train who provides assistance to passengers, similar to a stewardess on an airplane.  In the mid-20th Century, trade unions in America were common.  Essentially it is union for a particular trade, such as plumbers, electricians, or porters.  Many unions were segregated so that there was a union for black workers and another for whites working in the same trade.

I hope this helps!
- Mike

U.S. History

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Michael Troy

Expertise

I can answer just about any question on early American History. My specialties are the American Revolution through the Civil War/Reconstruction. I also have greater expertise in matters relating to military, political or legal history.

Experience

I have lectured at George Washington University regarding the Civil War, as well as several elementary school Civil War demonstrations. I was also a member of a Civil War reenactment group for about 10 years.

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http://unlearnedhistory.blogspot.com

Education/Credentials
J.D. University of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

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