N&W in 1908 -- Porters

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Thu Aug 14 16:36:33 EDT 2008

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
February 15, 1908

Colored Man in Norfolk & Western Uniform to Act as Porter on Train.
Quite a little sensation and stir was caused at the passenger station last night by the appearance of a new official of the railway. This official was no other than a colored man in a Norfolk & Western uniform, who was to serve as porter on No. 3. The Norfolk & Western, following the plan of other big railroads in the country, will hereafter on their passenger trains carry a colored porter, whose duty, among other things, is to keep the coaches clean at all times. Heretofore it has been customary to have a colored man go through and clean the coaches at the division points only. Thus, if a coach was dirtied soon after leaving Radford, it would not be cleaned until Bluefield was reached.
Some of the white people at the station last night thought that the colored man was to serve as brakeman, and that he had been put on the train in the place of a white man who had been discharged. Many became quite indignant, and they will be relieved to know that the colored man is merely a porter.
[Certainly racial outlooks have improved since then.]

Gordon Hamilton
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