The A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum, the first and only museum dedicated to honoring the fearless Black men who formed the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, has exciting things in store during Black History Month and throughout the year. Even though the museum doors are temporarily closed due to the pandemic, visitors can still enjoy the ongoing virtual programming from anywhere in the world. The Chicago Defender spoke with President and Executive Director of the Pullman Porter Museum, David A. Peterson, Jr., about the offerings happening during Black History Month.
Despite the pandemic, the Pullman Porter Museum, which celebrates its 26th anniversary this month, made significant accomplishments in 2020, including a Summer Youth Jobs Program via Zoom. David A. Peterson, Jr., the President and Executive Director of the museum, said that downtime created the opportunity to incorporate innovative ways to make the museum self-sustainable and propel it to the next level.
Exciting new initiatives are also underway. The museum is currently collaborating with its social enterprise partner, Randolph’s Dream Community Development Corporation, on the Community Economic Development Empowerment Project (CEDEP 2020). “Our people have a homegrown development plan that is just as sophisticated as the ones that outsiders bring to our communities to spark gentrification,” David Peterson said. The initial project is the implementation of an expansion plan to transform the museum into the A. Philip Randolph Culture Factory. To accomplish this goal, the museum has forged a strategic public-private partnership with the National Park Service and the city of Chicago.
The Urban Renaissance Event Series is in the works for 2021. The intergenerational musical experience celebrating the artistic contributions during the Great Migration will kick off on Labor Day at the A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum, located in Chicago’s historic Pullman district on the southeast side.
Self-Guided Virtual Docu-Tour
Get on board and take yourself on a virtual tour. You are in for a treat as you explore the history of America’s first and only Black labor union and the group’s organizer A. Philip Randolph. You can register for this tour and other events at www.PullmanPorterMuseum.com.
Custom Virtual Docu-Tour
Host a private, virtual one-hour tour that you can enjoy with your family, business partners, or organization. Below is the format for this personalized experience.
- Introduction by your host
- Virtual docu-tour video viewing
- Q&A with museum officials
Experience the newly enhanced, interactive Traveling Exhibit, curated by Dr. Lyn Hughes and designed in partnership with Art on the Loose, Inc. Creative Therapist. During the month of February, you can schedule an installation for a 10-day engagement. The exhibit chronicles the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and A. Philip Randolph’s historical contributions and touches upon African-Americans in U.S. railroad history. Appropriately, this collection begins with the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 and highlights significant events in the 100 years that follow, leading up to the 1963 March on Washington. The Pullman Porters’ story, which conveys the power of organizing and implementing, is often told in the context of America’s history of railroads. Yet, the real impact and mission of these great men far exceed the industry.
During Black History Month and beyond, it is crucial to support the museum and preserve its history. According to David Peterson, losing this legacy would diminish the significance of labor in the Black community during a time when it is more important now than ever to promote the labor industry as an alternative career path.
To sign up for a virtual tour, donate to support the mission of the A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum, or become a member, visit www.PullmanPorterMuseum.com.
Donna Montgomery is a Multifaceted Writer in Chicago. Find her on social media @GoldenLadyWrites.