Stories

Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP)

CL Dellums in his office

The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) was an African American labor union organized in 1925 by A. Philip Randolph, who became its first president and C. L. Dellums, who became the Brotherhood’s first vice president. The largest number of Pullman Porters were in Chicago. C.L. Dellums oversaw the West Coast office of the Brotherhood.

In the early 1900s, The Pullman Palace Car Company operated the majority of the country’s passenger trains. The company became one of the largest employers of African Americans in the 1920s and ’30s. It projected a positive image by helping to fund black churches and businesses. But the reality of working for the Pullman Company was different than the public image the company tried to project.

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Bob Geddins

Bob Geddins in about 1959Bob Geddins recorded most of the musicians of 7th Street, including Saunders King, Lowell Fulson and Sugar Pie DeSanto. He helped countless musicians get their start and wrote blues songs that topped the charts in the ‘50s and ‘60s. However, because Geddins didn’t copyright his work, he “got cheated out of all kinds of money,” as he said in a 1977 interview.

Geddins came to California from Texas in 1933. He lived in Los Angeles until 1943, when he and his large family (he had 13 children) joined his mother in West Oakland. Like so many Southern transplants, he found work in the Kaiser shipyards. Continue reading “Bob Geddins”