[JPL] Fw: Pullmans, not box cars

Tom Reney tr at wfcr.org
Mon Jan 19 19:04:30 EST 2009

Speaking of Ellington and Pullman cars, here's a note I sent to a Massachusetts newspaper just last Friday...

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Tom Reney 
To: editor at foxbororeporter.com 
Sent: Friday, January 16, 2009 7:23 AM
Subject: Pullmans, not box cars

I was delighted to read of the Foxboro High School jazz ensemble's invitation to play a piece by Duke Ellington at one of the Obama-Biden Inaugural events.  However, the article reports that Duke Ellington would rent a railroad box car to house his bandmembers in locales where accommodations were unavailable to blacks.  This is only half-true.  The Ellingtonians traveled by Pullman car, which offered them a measure of elegance and comfort that flew in the face of the restrictions imposed on blacks during Jim Crow.  As in his music, Duke Ellington exemplifed a dedication to personal style that transcended many of the harsh customs of the day and made him an inspiration to several generations of African-Americans. One needn't exaggerate the conditions under which Duke lived to illustrate his extraordinary achievements. 

Tom Reney
"Jazz à la Mode"
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tr at wfcr.org

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