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Our historic legacy of photographs, manuscripts, and other items document the important and unique role of transportation in Southern California history and culture

Arcola Philpott
The first African-American "Motorman" was a woman.  Read more about another little-known piece of Los Angeles transit history.
First African American Motormen
Los Angeles Railway was not previously known as a socially progressive organization, nor were many other industries or job markets of the early 1940’s. Hiring women as streetcar and bus operators in 1942 was a small start.  Noting the newspaper headlines of the Los Angeles Sentinel and California Eagle from 1942-1944, racial integration of the ranks of motormen was a major change from past practices, skillfully negotiated by the Rev. Clayton Russell's Los Angeles Negro Victory Committee, the AFL-CIO, the NAACP, the Fair Employment Practices Commission and the reform-minded Los Angeles Mayor Fletcher Bowron.
First Women Operators - Motormanettes
In honor of both Black History month of February and Women’s History month of March, we went digging through the archives searching for the names and photos of Los Angeles’ first women and African American bus and rail operators. We feel it is important to recall the part our own local history has played in the national workplace and civil rights movements.

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