Statement by Lynn McClure, Midwest Senior Director, NPCA
Background: For more than three years, National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been working with hundreds of people in Chicago, leading efforts to create the city’s first national park in the Historic Pullman District and ensure that the community’s unique and storied past is added to our National Park System.
Few sites preserve the history of American industry, labor, urban planning and African American workers as well as Pullman. America’s first model industrial town has deep ties to the nation’s first major industry-wide strike – the Pullman Strike of 1894 – that helped spur the creation of the national Labor Day holiday. In the 1920s, black workers employed by the Pullman Company as porters and maids were not well represented and continued to struggle for worker’s rights. As a result, they created the Brotherhood of the Sleeping Car Porters, becoming the first African American labor union to secure bargaining rights.
Statement: “The people who are part of the Pullman legacy helped to shape America as we know it today. Pullman workers fought for fair labor conditions in the late 19th century and the Pullman porters helped advance America’s Civil Rights movement.“
“The designation of Pullman as a national monument will further showcase the commitment of President Obama to diversify our national parks and preserve the places that define who we are as a nation. Thanks to the President, Pullman’s story will soon be remembered and recounted for the millions of people that visit America’s national parks each year.”
About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.