African American track workers somewhere in Pennsylvania, circa 1950.
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African American track workers

Credit: Courtesy of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania Operated by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

From the 1910s through the 1950s, millions of southern blacks poured into Pennsylvania and other northern states for employment in steel mills, shipyards, railroads, and other industries. Before the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, most American railroads restricted African-American men to jobs in service positions or as unskilled laborers.

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