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10 Astonishing Facts About the Black Men and Women Responsible for America’s Railroad Systems

All Southern Railroads Built in the 1800s Were Built by Enslaved Africans
The whole southern network of railroads built in the enslavement period in America was almost entirely constructed by enslaved Africans. Some railroads owned enslaved people while others rented them from their owners. They also hired free Blacks. All worked positions like brakemen and firemen, who either manually stopped trains 0r stocked fire for energy.



Black Women Were Also Involved in Railroad Construction
Both women and men alike were pushed to work in the dangerous and brutal railroad building conditions. After construction on the tracks was complete, many still worked on the railroad in smaller roles. There was little difference in the abilities of Black women to work on the tracks. They were both expected to face treacherous conditions.

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