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In this online exhibition from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, students will examine the central role railroads played in American life during the 1920s, 30s and 40s. Railroad lines crisscrossed the country creating jobs for 1.5 to 2 million American workers each year, including thousands of African American Pullman Porters. Trains carried people, agricultural products, manufactured goods, and the daily mail to all parts of the country. Though railroad travel made long-distance travel possible for anyone who could afford a ticket or catch a "free ride.'' Jim Crow laws forced African Americans to ride in segregated train cars while traveling through the South.
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