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The New York Times Describes Racial Unrest on the Railroads

A New York Times article from 1889 describes another instance of racially-based labor unrest on the railroads. In Chattanooga, Tennessee, a group of African-American railroad laborers spontaneously strike to protest the dismissal of a black brakeman. In response, they were summarily fired and replaced with white workers.


Chattanooga, Tenn., Feb. 8. The railroad yards of the Queen and Crescent system here were to-day placed in the hands of white labor in place of negroes discharged. A colored brakeman was discharged for neglect of duty and his fellow-laborers abandoned their stations and refused to work until he was reinstated. They were once dismissed summarily and white men installed in their places.

No trouble of importance will follow this action fo the railroad officers. Watkins, the colored brakeman over whom the trouble arose, will appeal to the General Manager of the road.

Source | "White Labor instead of Negroes," The New York Times, 9 February 1889.
Creator | The New York Times
Item Type | Newspaper/Magazine
Cite This document | The New York Times, “The New York Times Describes Racial Unrest on the Railroads,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed December 2, 2023,

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