Accommodating Mexican Nationalism: The Pullman Company in Post-Revolutionary Mexico, 1920-1934

Chantel Rodríguez

When George Pullman introduced his lavish sleeping cars in 1865, he affixed a lasting image of black men to passenger rail cars.  Together, Pullman sleeping cars and the African American porter promised passengers an experience of luxury, comfort, and great service.  This racialized image, however, could not be found on Pullman’s Mexican lines in the Post-Revolutionary period.  These lines exclusively employed Mexican nationals as porters, conductors, waiters and cooks.  This paper explores why Pullman’s operations in Post-Revolutionary Mexico radically departed from the model used in the United States and Canada.  By examining the arenas of the tourism industry and employer-labor relations, I show that Pullman modified its operations to accommodate a Mexican nationalism that promoted a fusion of economic development and revolutionary rhetoric.