Texas A&M University Kingsville, South Texas Archives

Colored Trainmen of America (C.T. of A.) Records

Collection Summary

Creator Colored Trainmen of America
Title Colored Trainmen of America (C.T. of A.) Records
Dates: 1900-1910
Abstract: The new St. Louis, Brownsville & Mexico Railway, headquartered in Kingsville, opened up jobs for African-American workers. The African-American workers were not allowed to be in white unions so they formed their own, the Colored Trainmen of America, which was formed in Kingsville, Texas by the black railroad workers of the Gulf Coast Line.
Identification A1997-043 and A1997-043.AD1
Collection URL http://archives.tamuk.edu/ead.php?xml=CTA%20EAD
Quantity: 9 linear ft.
Location: H-4-1 and H-4-2
Language: English

Historical Note

The new St. Louis, Brownsville & Mexico Railway, headquartered in Kingsville, opened up jobs for African-American workers. The jobs were the harshest on the railroad, but in some ways the most important. For the workers who came to Kingsville to take advantage of this opportunity it would be both beneficial and difficult. Although making far less pay than their white counterparts working at the same jobs, the African-American railroad workers had some of the best jobs available to them in the United States. These railroad jobs were coveted and allowed for a much better life than almost any other occupation open to African-Americans. World War I set the stage in 1918 for significant changes for the lives of black railroad workers. The Colored Trainmen of America was a black union for the African-American railroad workers. Kingsville, Texas was the founding location for this union and was referred to as Local Lodge 1 while the Grand Lodge was in Houston, Texas. The C.T. of A. operated from 1918 to 1982 but declined in membership when the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen was actively seeking black workers to join in 1966 to improve their bargaining power.

Scope and Contents

The material consists of financial documents such as: bank accounts, bank receipts, membership dues, loan notes, bill receipts and check stubs from 1946-1968. Correspondences to and from Local Lodge 1 (Kingsville, Texas), Local Lodge 2 (Dequincy, Louisiana), Grand Lodge (Houston, Texas), Gulf Coast Lines, and several insurance companies about coverage. A Gulf Coast Line train ticket from 1924, Safety Awards, constitution and general rules of C.T. of A., Grand Lodge proceedings and a Missouri Pacific Lines Dequincy Division seniority list of brakemen as of January 1st, 1940. 76 books mostly court cases and reference materials used at the Union Hall belonging to the C.T. of A.


The collection was given in two donations by Rev. Earl Jackson of the King Star Baptist Church in 1997 and 1998. The first donation was two boxes of documents that were put into folders by: financial statements, correspondence, awards, and organizational business. The second donations were 76 books that were mostly court cases and reference materials. The collection is arranged in four series: Series I: Union Correspondence Series II: Financial Documents Series III: Union Proceedings Series IV: Books

Index Terms

Jefferson, W. H.
Williams, Leamer
Jefferson, Jordan
Gulf Coast Lines
Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen
Colored Trainmen of America
Geographical Names
Kingsville (Tex.)
Dequincy, (Lou.)
Houston, (Tex.)
Labor Unions
African-American – Segregation
African-American men
Railroads – Employees