The National Park Service recently announced the opening of Pullman National Monument and the National Park Foundation marked the occasion with work from a Black artist. On September 4 and 5, 2021, and thanks in part to the support of the National Park Foundation and its donors, guests visited the Chicago landmark’s visitor center and state historic site grounds and took tours, and enjoyed interactive activities organized by a variety of partners throughout the Pullman neighborhood.
Pullman National Monument features exhibits and programs that share two key moments in American Labor History associated with the Pullman company including the 1894 Pullman Strike and Boycott, and the 1937 African-American Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters union winning the first successful contract with a major company.
Back in 2015, President Barack Obama declared The Pullman Historic District, already designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970, a National Monument.
The National Park Foundation has supported the park since its 2015 designation, providing a total of more than $10 million, with a lead gift from the Pritzker Traubert Foundation and including a $1 million grant from the Union Pacific Community Ties Giving Program, to support the construction of its visitor center and revitalization of the site and improvements to the 12-acre grounds and historic buildings.
“As we celebrate the opening of Pullman National Monument, we also celebrate the power of working together,” said National Park Foundation President and CEO Will Shafroth. “When Pullman National Monument was designated in 2015, the core feature of the site, the historic Clock Tower, and the surrounding grounds required significant restoration. The National Park Foundation, generous donors including a lead gift from the Pritzker Traubert Foundation, committed partners, and Pullman community members stepped up to provide critical investment and expertise to the project. The result is that we are together preserving and sharing Pullman’s unique history for generations to come.”
To mark Pullman National Monument’s opening, NPF and Union Pacific commissioned Chicago artist Joe Nelson to create the Pullman National Monument poster that features Black Pullman Porters.
“I definitely want to tell the story of these historic men that set a precedence, to be admired by everyone through hard work and dedication,” Nelson said about the piece. “Their resilience and strength help set the tone for where we are today in a lot of ways. And that I appreciate. I want to give honor and respect to that. And that’s why I’m putting in this hard work: to show that I appreciate what they did back then, because it’s helped everyone until this point.”
“The Pullman National Monument is a tribute to African-American Pullman porters who created the first African American union, and the legacy of George Pullman– providing a quality passenger rail car, and the nation’s first planned community,” said Union Pacific Senior Vice President – Corporate Relations, Chief Administrative Officer and Foundation President Scott Moore. “This poster is a nod to the days gone by as we celebrate a time when Union Pacific trains carried people to destinations they couldn’t explore any other way, and the role Pullman and his porters played in rail history. While our trains no longer carry passengers, we encourage this generation of explorers to visit national parks and experience the wonder and history.”
Will YOU be visiting?