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They Call Me George: The Untold Story of The Black Train Porters
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They Call Me George: The Untold Story of The Black Train Porters

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  81 ratings  ·  20 reviews
A historical work of non-fiction that chronicles the little-known stories of black railway porters – the so-called “Pullmen” of the Canadian rail lines. The actions and spirit of these men helped define Canada as a nation in surprising ways; effecting race relations, human rights, North American multiculturalism, community building, the shape and structure of unions, and t ...more
Kindle Edition
Published February 5th 2019 by Biblioasis
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May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book's title sums up the approx 295 pages in just one line. It was a necessary story to be told and there were many interesting elements along the way; however, by the latter half, it dragged on.

What this book revealed is that in the early days of this fledging nation, Canada was not intended to be a multi-cultural society. The train porters fought an uphill battle and should be credited for their perseverance first to change the rules affecting their employment and career and by extension t
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Dense, heavy going book that is well-researched but not written in a conversational style. An interesting account of the history of the point system, how rigid the rules were in terms of how many people Canada would accept from various countries and the limitations on their mobility when they got here.
Joan Cameron
May 07, 2019 rated it liked it
On the plus side: I learned a lot from this book about Canada’s intention to be a white nation & the part the railway porters played in disrupting that plan.

On the down side: I grew frustrated with reading the same facts over & over again..... which made me wonder if I was reading a collection of stand-alone essays..... which would have changed my expectations around the flow of the narrative.
Oct 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: a-need
VERY interesting book but very dry read. Well researched and documented. A eye opener.
Mel H
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
This book would have benefited from a good editor. The author is knowledgeable and well-spoken, I learned things I didn't know and was interested to find out more about... but the general premise is misleading. This is not a book about Black train porters, it is a book about the unionization of the porters and their delegation to forward Black rights in Canada. There is, in fact, very little that is distinctly about the porters. The book teaches us that there were really only two jobs available ...more
Enid Wray
May 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Another really important, and timely, book. Critically important, especially for the non-black population, Cecil Foster re-writes the history of black men in Canada. The trains - and the larger society - are seen for what they were.

But be forewarned. The writing is very dry, very academic. While some literary non-fiction reads like fiction and really invites the reader in, this book is written very ‘matter of factly.’ For all that the content is compelling, and as interested as I was in the sub
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Please don’t form an opinion of this wonderful book, based on the time it took me to finish. I was listening on audible and had to find suitable time to listen. They Call Me George is enthralling.
An account of the formation and activism of the Sleeping Car Porters, George is eye opening. Canadians are far too naive about our history, and far to smug about our supposed multiculturalism.
Foster provides a detailed chronological account of The formation of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, in
Chris Bull
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Not so much about being a Pullman porter

The author, Cecil Foster sets out to underline the struggle of black rail workers in the first half of the twentieth century
. In doing so, he focuses on the labor struggles and the color line found at that time. As an academic this Foster’s field of study.
I did not gain much of a feeling for the lives of actual porters which is why I bought this book in the first place.
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
I should have read more reviews and the summary; I was hoping for more "actual" stories from the black porters and from the limited number there were; and not so much history (horrid as it was). I saw Mr. Foster at a Wordfest event here in Calgary and he was engaging, another reason I read the book was I took the train from Ottawa to Jasper and slept in a berth so the stories about the turn-down service, etc, brought back memories & when I took this trip back in 1977, Winnipeg was also the city ...more
Mike Barat
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
Stopped this reading book on page 156. I will admit that I learned some interesting things about Canadian history as well as how bad racism was for black people was in Canada. This book however was written to much in the style of text book, perhaps if I wasn't a four year old that would not have bothered me, however I just hit the wall and I could not take it.
Jul 06, 2020 rated it liked it
This book has a ton of potential but unfortunately I feel like it's poorly executed. It's repetitive and rambling and the structure jumps back and forth all the time, making it hard to follow. It's unfortunate because it's a very interesting topic!
Oct 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eye opening content for anyone who was unaware of Canada's white supremacist immigration policies and the band of black porters who lobbied tirelessly for a multicultural Canada.

A must read for any Canadian history teacher.
Lorraine O'Sullivan
Oct 14, 2019 rated it did not like it
Very historical book. Filled with law, unions and racism. Happy to finish it.
Apr 10, 2019 rated it liked it
An important story.
May 11, 2020 added it
Shelves: abandoned
I abandoned this book but couldn’t get it off my shelf without showing it finished.
Emma ( Mrsbreads )
Aug 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
So very interesting
Anna-Marie Mackenzie
A very enlightening book about aspects of Canada’s history I knew nothing about. Well researched, and presented in an accessible way.
Diane B
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fairly academic in its approach but useful informing perspective of how Black Train Porters played such an important role in Canadian history, and how the group was largely overlooked for so long by organized labour.
Lots of interviews, faithfully documented.
Looking forward to hearing the author speak at an upcoming Heliconian lecture.
Would definitely recommend this book to others.
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, nonfiction
The title of this book might sound a little over-ambitious.
It is not.
I learned about the Black train porters, their relationship with the railways and with Canada's government and with other minorities.
Canada's immigration history. Canada's relations with other Commonwealth countries, especially the West Indies, and with the US. Rail history, labour history, and how multiculturalism happened.
There's so much in here. The content is interesting, the writing is very readable.
I'll read more by Ceci
Miranda Binsley
Jul 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Really interesting history but got too textbook-like so I couldn’t finish it.
Daphne Saint
rated it it was ok
Mar 27, 2019
rated it did not like it
Aug 22, 2020
Marcello Cintio
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Oct 22, 2019
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Aug 08, 2020
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Feb 13, 2019
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Mar 27, 2020
Linda Kwan
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Apr 18, 2020
Morgan Campbell
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May 12, 2019
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