Thursdays at the Figge returns to the Figge on Thursday, February 17, 2011 with the special lecture "The World's Most Perfect Servant: The Pullman Porter Company and the African-American Experience," presented by Peter A. Hansen in conjunction with the current exhibition "Tracks: The Railroad in Photographs from the George Eastman House Collection" and Black History Month. Mr. Hansen is the editor of the scholarly journal Railroad History and will travel from his home in Kansas City to Davenport by train for this lecture. This lecture will be held at 7:00 PM in the Figge Auditorium.
The porters of the Pullman Company served as bellmen, concierges, housekeepers and more in the railroads' sleeping cars, yet their role in the American consciousness is even harder to define. Were porters "the world's most perfect servants," as Pullman's advertising boasted, or a symbol of racial oppression? Icons of gracious travel or underpaid victims? More than 40 years after the Pullman Company went out of business attitudes about its frontline employees reflect our continued ambivalence. This lecture will offer insights on the Pullman porters, their work, and their role in the modern civil rights movement.
Thursdays at the Figge on February 24th will feature a performance of Railroad Songs and Stories by Roald Tweet, professor emeritus of English at Augustana College and host of WVIK's Rock Island Lines, and musician Chris Dunn.
Thursdays at the Figge in March will feature "Artists and Writers," a series of talks by English professors from area colleges and universities on the unique relationship between literature and art.
Thursdays at the Figge programming in February also include a guided gallery tour at 6 PM and live music by Buddy Olson. The café and bar open at 5 PM for dinner and drinks and the museum is open until 9 PM. All programs are included with admission to the museum and all college students and faculty receive free admission after 5 PM every Thursday night.
Tracks and its educational programming are funded in part by the Riverboat Development Authority, Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities.