Pennsylvania Grand Review

Honoring African American Patriots 1865 / 2010

Railway Cars in Philadelphia

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Pennsylvania Civil War Newspapers offers a great collection of historic newspapers published in cities across the state. This editorial from the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin highlights that while those in the USCT were in the US Army, they did not enjoy the same rights and privileges as white soldiers. After a USCT surgeon was “ejected…[from a railway car] while on important public business” in Washington DC, the Evening Bulletin criticized the incident and explained how similar conditions existed in Philadelphia. “In New England all classes ride in the cars just as they mingle together in the same streets,” but in Philadelphia “the front platform of the car is the only place” where African Americans could ride. As a result, “men who have donned the uniform of the country and rallied to the defense of the old flag…[were] exposed to the wet and cold while half-drunken white men..loll upon the cushions inside.” While the Evening Bulletin proposed several solutions, those ideas included the introduction of segregated railcars rather than allow travelers to sit anywhere they wanted. You can read the full editorial here.

(Courtesy of Pennsylvania Civil War Newspapers – “Colored Persons in Railway Cars,” Philadelphia (PA) Evening Bulletin, February 14, 1864, p. 4: 2-3. )

Posted in US Colored Troops Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 at 11:24 pm.

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