As service workers in a luxurious sleeping-car train system, Pullman porters had both the highest status in the black community and the lowest rank on the train. They were trapped in the dual roles of charming host and obedient servant, and their constant smiles--even in the face of unreasonable demands by white passengers--were part of the job requirement.
Jack Santino's interviews with retired porters provide extensive firsthand accounts of their work, the job inequities they faced, the formation of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, and the aborted Pullman porter strike of 1928. Through the testimony of ran-and-file workers as well as key figures such as E. D. Nixon, the porter who initiated the Montgomery bus boycott and helped launch the career of Martin Luther King, Jr. and C.L. Dellums, the only surviving founding member of the BSCP, Miles of Smiles, Years of Struggle illuminates the Pullman porters' struggle for dignity.