What does Pullman porter mean?

Definitions for Pullman porter
pull·man porter

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word Pullman porter.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. porter, Pullman porternoun

    a railroad employee who assists passengers (especially on sleeping cars)


  1. Pullman porter

    Pullman porters were men hired to work for the railroads as porters on sleeping cars. Starting shortly after the American Civil War, George Pullman sought out former slaves to work on his sleeper cars. Their job was to carry passengers’ baggage, shine shoes, set up and maintain the sleeping berths, and serve passengers. Pullman porters served American railroads from the late 1860s until the Pullman Company ceased operations on December 31, 1968, though some sleeping-car porters continued working on cars operated by the railroads themselves and, beginning in 1971, Amtrak. The term "porter" has been superseded in modern American usage by "sleeping car attendant", with the former term being considered "somewhat derogatory".Until the 1960s, Pullman porters were exclusively black, and have been widely credited with contributing to the development of the black middle class in America. Under the leadership of A. Philip Randolph, Pullman porters formed the first all-black union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in 1925. Formation of the union was instrumental in the advancement of the Civil Rights Movement. Porters worked under the supervision of a Pullman conductor (distinct from the railroad's own conductor in overall charge of the train), who was invariably white.In addition to sleeping cars, Pullman also provided parlor cars and dining cars used by some railroads that did not operate their own; the dining cars were typically staffed with African-American cooks and waiters, under the supervision of a white steward: "With the advent of the dining car, it was no longer possible to have the conductor and porters do double duty: a dining car required a trained staff" and "depending on the train and the sophistication of the meals, a staff could consist of a dozen men."Pullman also employed African-American maids on deluxe trains to care for women's needs, especially women with children; in 1926, Pullman employed about 200 maids and over 10,000 porters. Maids assisted ladies with bathing, gave manicures and dressed hair, sewed and pressed clothing, shined shoes, and helped care for children. The Central of Georgia Railroad continued using this service as a selling point in their advertisements for the Nancy Hanks well into the 1950s.


  1. pullman porter

    A Pullman porter is an individual employed in the rail transport industry as a member of the onboard service staff on luxurious railcars like sleeping cars or Pullman cars. Their duties typically include assisting passengers, carrying luggage, making up sleeping berths, and serving food and drinks. The term originated in the United States during the mid-to-late nineteenth century and was primarily associated with African-American men who served in these roles.

The Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz


    A legalized train-robber.

Suggested Resources

  1. pullman porter

    Read the full text of the Pullman Porter poem by Robert William Service on the Poetry.com website.

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How to pronounce Pullman porter?

How to say Pullman porter in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of Pullman porter in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of Pullman porter in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Translations for Pullman porter

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"Pullman porter." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 10 Dec. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/Pullman+porter>.

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