For more information, contact Moneé Cottman at 410-659-7301 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Shackelford, chief curator
Black History Month at the B&O Railroad Museum
1. What can visitors expect to see at the B&O Railroad Museum in honor of Black History Month?
Visitors will be treated to programming related to the African-American Railroading Experience. Daily programming will include presentations, oral histories, lectures, and they will also be able to see an actual Jim Crow car.
2. What makes the B&O Railroad Museum such a unique attraction to visit?
The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of American railroading and its impact on American society, culture, and economy. The Museum is home to the oldest, most important and comprehensive collection of American railroad artifacts in the world including an unparalleled roster of 19th and 20th century railroad equipment. The 40-acre historic site is regarded as the birthplace of American railroading and includes the 1851 Mt. Clare Station, the 1884 Baldwin Roundhouse, and firstmile of commercial railroad track in America.
3. How did segregation or race relations affect railroading?
The concept of “Jim Crow” and “separate but equal” policies first occurred on railroad passenger coaches but would also spread to passenger station accommodations. By the 1850s, southern railroads began enforcing policies that segregated African-American travelers from white travelers. Although the Civil Rights Act of 1875 declared all individuals had a right to equal public accommodations, states continued to impose “Jim Crow” laws. In 1883, the Supreme Court declared the Civil Rights Act of 1875 unconstitutional due to the belief that the federal government could not mandate integrationist policies when it pertained to private industries. Railroads and private corporations had a right to refuse service or create separated venues as long as they were “equal.”
On June 7, 1892, 30-year old shoemaker Homer Plessy challenged the Louisiana “Jim Crow” law by sitting in the white section of a passenger coach. Judge John Howard Ferguson upheld the state law, resulting in an appeal to the SupremeCourt. In the 1896 Plessy vs. Ferguson case, the Supreme Court ruled that “separate but equal” accommodations were legal. Of course in reality these accommodations were not equal. Typically, segregated coaches were located directly behind the locomotive. If windows were open, smoke and burning cinders flew inside. If the windows were closed, the coach was stuffy and poorly ventilated. In many cases, the segregated coaches were also used to store tools and materials for the conductor.
By the 1950s, railroad passenger services in general were expensive to operate and not financially productive. Therefore, it was becoming economically impossible for railroads to operate any passenger services, let alone additional segregated cars. In 1954, the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling overturned the “separate but equal” clause stating that separate accommodations were “inherently unequal.” In 1955, the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) ordered an end to segregated cars on railroads, but some railroads continued to enforce their segregation policies until the late 1960s.
4. What is the most significant contribution(s) made by African Americans to the railroad industry?
From the very beginning of railroading, African Americans played an integral role in the success, growth, and improvement of the industry. They labored in track gangs, fired steam locomotives, handled precious freight, and provided unparalleled service topassengers as porters, waiters, chefs, and redcaps. For many years, AfricanAmericans were limited in their opportunities, and encountered violent racism and exclusion from many areas of railroading.
In addition to the every day contributions of the African-American railroader, Inventor, Elijah McCoy patented an automatic lubricator in 1872 to regulate the flow of oil to locomotive cylinders and pistons. Railroads insisted that their locomotives have the “real McCoy” and not some inferior imitation.
Another notable contribution relates to unionization. Despite the significant number of African-American employees on railroads, most were denied membership in the traditional railroad unions. Established in 1912, the Association ofColored Railway Trainmen and Locomotive Firemen was one of the first African-American labor unions. At its peak in 1926, this organization couldboast approximately 3,500 members. A. Philip Randolph formed the nation’s first widely successful African-American union in 1925. Called the Brotherhood ofSleeping Car Porters and Maids, this organization successfully lobbied for greater economic opportunities and equality for both male and female African-American railroad employees.
5. In experiencing the B&O Railroad Museum, what would you like visitors take away from the commemoration?
African-Americans and the railroad have a rich and intertwined history full of significant contributions and deplorable lows that directly relates to the struggles African-Americans have faced in America.
January 4-February 5, 2012
Based on Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. Janie at 16 faces a marriage of convenience and a life of quiet drudgery. Instead, she embarks on a journey that brings successes and losses enough for several lifetimes-a passage to fulfillment so singular that it manages to speak for all of our dreams. This soaring saga brings to life the vivid characters of Zora Neale Hurston’s beloved novel, a shining jewel of the Harlem Renaissance by one of America’s literary giants.
Adventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog
Port Discovery Children’s Museum
January 14-May 6, 2012
Board the Birdwell Island ferry and journey to the world of Clifford™, America’s beloved big red dog with a heart to match, in Adventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog traveling exhibit! Inspired by Scholastic Entertainment’s television show, “Clifford the Big Red Dog” on PBS KIDS, the exhibit offers numerous “paw-on adventures” slide down the tail of a colossal nine-foot high Clifford; help fill Clifford’s big dog bowl, create sand art, find “bone”-ifide treasures at T-Bone’s Beach and more!
Touch and the Enjoyment of Sculpture: Exploring the Appeal of Renaissance Statuettes
The Walters Art Museum
January 21-April 15, 2012
This groundbreaking focus show will explore the implications of tactile perception for enjoying sculpture by melding the research of a JohnsHopkins University neuroscientist studying how the brain reacts to tactile stimuli and a Walters curator interested in the increased appreciation of tactility as an aspect of European Renaissance art—a period marked by a new availability of small “collectibles” meant to be held. Visitors will be able to hold and register their evaluations of replicas of “appealing” statuettes, as well as variants assumed to be unappealing. Displays will illustrate the Renaissance attitudes towards touch, the sensation of touch being stimulated without actual contact and the neural processing and perception of objects during touch.
Dandy Lion: Articulating a Re(de)fined Black Masculine Identity
Reginald F.Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture
January 29-May 13, 2012
Twenty emerging photographers and filmmakers present refreshing images of young black men who challenge popular notions of urban black masculinity. This exhibition defies the negative image of the black male as “thug” and explores contemporary expressions of the “Black Dandy,” the sophisticated urban gentleman whose “swagger” engages both African aesthetics and elements of classical European fashion.
Celebrate Black History Month at the B&O
B&O Railroad Museum
February 1-29, 2012
Celebrate the contributions of African Americans to the railroad industry. Learn about these men and women who filled vital jobs along the B&O Railroad’s line and understand how significant social issues, such as segregation, affected railroading.
The Future is Now! African Americans in Dentistry Exhibit
National Museum of Dentistry
February 1-29, 2012
Celebrate Black History month at the National Museum of Dentistry and learn about an important part of our “oral” history.
Harry’s Big Adventure: My Bug World!
Maryland Science Center
February 4-April 29, 2012
Hosted by Harry, a Chinese praying mantis, and his insect friends, the exhibit has three goals: to foster a sense of wonder and fascination for the natural world and its bugs, to highlight the many different habitats and behaviors of bugs, and to inspire outdoor play and discovery. It features live bugs, video, audio, games and more and is designed to give students anup-close view of nature and a new perspective on the role insects play in our environment. Many live species are on display including butterflies, ladybugs, Emperor scorpions, tarantulas, cockroaches, millipedes, crawfish, aphids, water striders, water beetles, click beetles, dung beetles, ants and more.
Evolution of a People
The France–Merrick Performing Arts Center: The Hippodrome Theatre
February 24, 2012
Darin Atwater's Evolution of a People is a musical monument to the varied facets of African American life; Business, Sports, Politics, Cowboys, Religion, Fashion. He's taken an entire culture and set it to music accompanied by a compelling still photographic narrative by Ellis Marsalis III. Essentially a motion picture in movement, this is by far Atwater's most ambitious symphonic work to date. Experience the full range of emotions as you take this journey into a kaleidoscope of sight and sound.
Into the Woods
March 7-April 15, 2012
What happens after Happily Ever After, after all? In Sondheim and Lapine’s beloved musical retelling of the Grimm classics, a parade of familiar folktale figures find their way “Into the Woods” and try to get home before dark—under the guidance of Mark Lamos, who dazzled us with A Little Night Music in 2008. Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by James Lapine, directed by Mark Lamos.
Baltimore Orioles 2012 Season
Enjoy the official beginning of the spring/summer season in Baltimore. Oriole Park at Camden Yards celebrates its 20th anniversary on April 6th, as the birds take on the Minnesota Twins in the season home opener.
Annual Running of the Preakness Stakes
May 19, 2012
Baltimore celebrates the second jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown, culminating in the annual running of the Preakness Stakes at north Baltimore’s Pimlico Racetrack.
June 13-19, 2012
Baltimore will be all hands on deck in June when more than two dozen U.S. and international naval vessels and tall ships descend on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor for Star-Spangled Sailabration, the national launch of the War of 1812 Bicentennial. It will feature seven days of land, sea and air festivities featuring the Blue Angels. Visitors will enjoy Flag Day fireworks, free tours of the tall ships and naval vessels, living history displays, educational activities, a new symphonic work, a public art project and the anniversary of the United States declaring war against Great Britain on June 18, 1812.
Plan your trip!
- Breakfast with the Animals June 18, 2013 - December 31, 2013 | All Day
- Woman of Two Worlds: Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte and Her Quest for an Imperial Legacy June 9, 2013 - June 9, 2014 | All Day
- In Full Glory Reflected: Maryland during the War of 1812 June 10, 2012 - December 31, 2014 | All Day
- All Aboard for Train Ride Season at the B&O! June 18, 2013 - December 31, 2013 | All Day
- Family Fun Night - 2nd Thursday of each Month! January 10, 2013 - December 12, 2013 | 4:00pm - 6:00pm