Explore American industry, labor, African-American history, and urban planning at Pullman. Nestled in a bucolic setting on Chicago’s far South Side, the neighborhood looks much the way it did when it was built in the late 19th century.
Pullman launched the Pullman Palace Car Company to manufacture rail cars, including the first sleeping car and tried to create an ideal company town, complete with shops, schools, and a church. But in the economic “Panic of 1893,” Pullman raised workers’ rents without raising wages, prompting an industry-wide strike that disrupted rail service and ultimately led to “closing down” the town. Labor Day was established as a federal holiday, following the strike.
While the town failed, the company persevered. In the early twentieth century, the Pullman Company was the nation’s largest employer of African Americans. And after decades of unfair and abusive labor practices, A. Philip Randolph organized the first African-American labor union with collective bargaining rights—the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters at the Pullman Company. Pullman porters were instrumental in the rise of the black middle class in America.
The convergence of rich history within an urban atmosphere makes a national park at Pullman a worthy gift to residents and visitors of the great city of Chicago.
Tell the President you support the creation of Chicago’s first national park at Pullman.
—A. Philip Randolph