The predominately African-American men who were porters worked long hours at very low pay, dependent upon tips from their passengers for their income. In 1925 they organized a union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, led by A. Phillip Randolph of New York and Milton Webster of Chicago. Because of their race, they received little support, but in 1937, they were able to win a contract with the Pullman Company, greatly improving workers' conditions. The Brotherhood was active in the Civil Rights movements, with many porters taking local leadership to push for dignity and equal treatment.
"And I long to see the day when Labor will have the destiny of the nation in her own hands and she will stand as a united force and show the world what the workers can do." --- Mary Harris "Mother" Jones, 1830-1930