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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 (AMERICAN SLAVERY)

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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
Hi Giuliano,

I'll be glad to help with your question.

During the days when railroad travel was more common, people used to take overnight railroad journeys. Passengers would spend the night in the "sleeping cars" of the train. The attendants, who took care of the passengers and kept the cars clean, were the sleeping car porters (porter means attendant). Practically all of the sleeping car porters were black Americans. They formed a labor union (also called a trade union) to protect their rights, and that union was called the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. That union was the first one in America that was organized by black people and whose members were all black. That's why it is referred to as the first black trade union.

I hope that this helps! Also, I'm half Italian: my great-grandparents came from Benevento and from Segni. Best wishes in your studies!

Ciao!

Marc

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Marc Aperio

Expertise

I'm able to answer most questions about US History, whether related to political, social, economic, or military issues.

Experience

I've studied American history for nearly 20 years. I'm currently volunteering for AllExperts in Medieval and European history.

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My newest book is called (REAL QUICK) HISTORY (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MYOKUZT) I've also written: WE NEED TO TALK: 27 DIALOGUES ON RACE IN AMERICA is available in the Amazon Kindle store. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01E69CUUI AMERICAN REVOLUTION 2016: RATIONALE AND AIMS FOR RADICAL CHANGE http://www.amazon.com/American-Revolution-2016-Rationale-Radical-ebook/dp/B00MI9H9VE

Education/Credentials
BA History (High Honors)

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