An exhibit at the Newberry Library is exploring the experience of Black maids who worked in Pullman train cars.
The exhibit features photos, documents and other historical artifacts, including one maid’s handwritten recollection of her work history. The exhibit highlights both the benefits and challenges they experienced while traveling as Black women during the Jim Crow era.
With long-distance travel reflecting both luxury and American progression, curator Miriam Thaggert says she hopes attendees gain better insight into the realities of not only traveling as a woman during that time, but as a Black woman.
Thaggert’s work is also featured in a book, “Riding Jane Crow: African American Women on the American Railroad.“
“Handmaidens for Travelers: The Pullman Company Maids” is on display until Sept. 16 at the Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton St., Chicago.