Trailer for the documentary Miles of Smiles, Years of Struggle.

Miles of Smiles tells the untold story of the Pullman porters who organized America’s first Black trade union – the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. But this inspiring film addresses larger issues of work, race and dignity and provides one of the few accounts of African American life between the Civil War and the modern Civil Rights movement.

Miles of Smiles is crafted from the historical records, movies and photos, but mostly the reminiscences of eight retired porters. The narrator is the remarkable Rosina Tucker, a 100-year old porter's widow and union organizer.

Aboard an old Pullman car sitting ghostlike on an overgrown siding, the porters reenact how they gave smiling service night and day. But these "miles of smiles" disguised a monumental organizing effort. After a 12-year struggle, the Pullman Company caved in to the porters, led by A. Philip Randolph. In 1937, the company signed the first labor agreement ever with Black workers. The Brotherhood soon became a training ground for Black leaders - from World War II to the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott to the 1963 March on Washington.

2 min 21 sec


Posted On
November 18, 2010
Paul Wagner

Paul Wagner


March 10, 1982
Rosina Tucker
Trailer Tracks
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