MANCHESTER - This spring Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home, will launch its newest education program, "Pullman Porters: Unsung Heroes." Restored to its former glory, the 1903 wooden Pullman palace car, "Sunbeam," provides the setting for this first of its kind program in Vermont. Fifth and sixth grade students will focus on the role that the Pullman porters played in giving rise to America's black middle class, the formation of the black labor movement in the early 20th century, and the momentum for the U. S. civil rights movement that culminated in the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Generations of African Americans were impacted, first, by the actions of President Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, and then by his son, Robert Lincoln, president of the Pullman Company, when he built Hildene in 1905. This slice of history, spanning 100 years, beginning with the Emancipation Proclamation and including the civil rights movement of the mid-20th century, is among the most influential in the history of race relations in U.S. history.
The program is interactive, with students playing the roles of both the travelers and workers on the Pullman car. In addition, they will use primary sources, film and music from the era to construct a timeline illuminating the period's civil rights milestones.
Hildene's mission is Values into Action. To learn more about this program or others at The Lincoln Family Home, contact Hildene Education Director, Diane Newton, at 802-367-7965 or email
Hildene is open daily from 9:30 to 4:30 p.m. To learn more about Hildene go to www.hildene.org or Facebook.