A. Philip Randolph, the first president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, was born in Crescent City, Florida, and grew up in Jacksonville. The son of a Methodist minister, he attended the City College of New York, and later published The Messenger, a radical black magazine. Porters assisted railroad passengers with getting on and off the train, and with their luggage. The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters was a union that advocated for these workers' rights. The 1937 contract between the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and the Pullman Company cut working hours, increased pay, and improved working conditions.
Randolph was also a major influence in ending discrimination in defense plants and segregation of the U.S. military. He was director of the August 28, 1963, March on Washington, D.C. — the largest civil rights demonstration in American history.
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The membership of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters included the African-American porters and maids who worked on the railway trains.
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Railroad workers laid and maintained railroad tracks across Florida. They often used call-and-response work songs to set the pace when laying track.
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In addition to the large railroad systems, many short rail lines and specialized systems operated in Florida. They reached rural communities and provided necessary rail transportation for industries such as timber and phosphate mining. In many locations, however, once the resources were gone, the trains soon disappeared.
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Accompanying note: "From field plant to factory for drying and final processing—here phosphate is 14% moisture content, following process—less than 2%."
In the early decades of the 20th century, trains such as the Florida Special and the Orange Blossom Special brought tourists all the way to Miami and beyond. Commercial lines transported Florida's produce and other products to northern markets.
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The Moore Haven and Clewiston Railway (MH & C Ry) was acquired by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company (ACL) on July 1, 1925.
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Left to right: Victor Hutchins, conductor; Athon Hicks, fireman; Ivan Leonard, Engineer for Gulf, Florida and Alabama Railway Company, E. W. Shaw, Engine 8's engineer; Louise Leonard, station agent.
Falco was the end of the 26-mile line of the Gulf, Florida, and Alabama Railroad Company between Galliver, Florida and Falco, Alabama. Engine 8 was used for the Gulf, Florida, and Alabama Railroad Company and Louisville and Nashville's Pensacola and Atlantic Division line.
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