Pullman Wood Hanger

Object Details

20th century
Wood and metal.
8 3/4 × 16 15/16 × 11/16 in. (22.3 × 43 × 1.8 cm)
Cite As
Gift of Glenn Green
The Pullman Sleeping Car’s design allowed train passengers, as printed on this clothes hanger, to “travel and sleep in safety and comfort.” The luxury railcars provided seats that Pullman Porters transformed into sleeping berths for overnight journeys and amenities such as this wooden hanger. Below its curved hook, wavy pieces of metal join wooden arms together to connect two sides of the triangular hanger. A wooden rod, from which folded pants could hang, forms the third side. Many formerly enslaved African Americans served as Pullman Porters, who became known not only for customer service, but also activism. Working as a Pullman Porter was one of few jobs available to African Americans in the late nineteenth and early twentieth-centuries, and, despite low wages, helped many enter the middle class. Unlike passengers, however, porters often experienced discomfort, enduring racism along with long hours and little sleep. In 1925, A. Philip Randolph organized The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, which became the first African American union to achieve a collective bargaining agreement.
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Anacostia Community Museum
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