Racial segregation on the layout?

Racial segregation on the layout?

Postby Arseny » Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:31 am

I have an interesting question.
As I know, 1950s and 1940s still were the years of racial segregation in the USA. Should I reproduce it on the layout, if I model that era?.. :think:
For example, if I build passenger station, maybe, I must divide it into two parts - "For white men" and "For colored men"?.. And add some signs like "Colored waiting room"?..

WhiteDoorColoredDoor.jpg
JimCrowInDurhamNC.jpg


But will it be correct TODAY ?.. :?

Was the racial segregation still strong at the American mid-West in 1950s?..

From the same point of view, if I model II era in Germany, I must place Nazi flag with swastika and portraits of Hitler somewhere?..
And if I model 1850s in USA, I must place a planter (wearing a big white hat) with a whip and some black slaves in chains somewhere?..

...or maybe it would be safer to model freight service only?.. :lol:
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Re: Racial segregation on the layout?

Postby jmass » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:37 am

No, i would not. there are limits to how prototipicaly one needs to go to represent a particular era. racism, hatred of any type should not be represented.
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Re: Racial segregation on the layout?

Postby AstroGoat760 » Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:44 pm

I agree with jmass, there are some things that should be left out of model railroading, and segregation and racism are two of them (they are related, though). Not all of the USA was segregated, but most areas that were not had low minority populations to begin with.

A problem that would come up with such "additions" to a layout would be that visitors may not understand that you are trying to model the "era", and instead will associate such "additions" with your personal view points, which can open a big can of worms for the modeler.
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Re: Racial segregation on the layout?

Postby j p » Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:45 pm

Have you selected one of the southern states for your layout?
When I was in Florida, I noticed that the old passenger cars were marked "white/colored" and those could be flipped. So there was no difference between the "white" and the "colored" section of the car. It was "only" segregation.

jmass: It depends on everyone's point of view.
I don't want any segregation on my layout - but that is only "Pennsy-inspired". You can alway have your layout only inspired by the era and not include the details which you don't like.
It would be very difficult to make Germany 1940's layout without swastika as a symbol of nazis and it would be also very difficult to make Russia (or any East European country) in 1950 - 1980 without red star as a symbol of communism. Maybe a track inside some deep forests...
It would be completely impossible to make North Korea layout without pictures of the Great Leader.

I have seen pictures from some German WW2 layout with fine details including little ss-men and that was the other extreme. He put much more of the nazi symbols than needed.
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Re: Racial segregation on the layout?

Postby Arseny » Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:02 pm

j p wrote:Have you selected one of the southern states for your layout?
When I was in Florida, I noticed that the old passenger cars were marked "white/colored" and those could be flipped. So there was no difference between the "white" and the "colored" section of the car. It was "only" segregation.


"Separate but equal" ?

No, as for me, I do not want to model Southern states; I think I'll model Wisconsin or some place near it (maybe fictional). Or maybe Minnesota or Illinois. I think I'll be able to use some German-style buildings available in TT.
(I love also Western landscapes - somewhere in Arizona, for example - but I'm afraid I'll get some problems with scenery (buildings, etc.) in this case... In addition my first American steam locomotive I purchased in TT was marked as DSS&A...
And I love Wisconsin Central livery for locomotives!

Were such signs (as "white/colored") in use in the Midwest and Great Lakes regions in 1950s?..
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Re: Racial segregation on the layout?

Postby ConducTTor » Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:24 pm

No. Racism, slavery, rape, concentration camps, ethnic cleansing, torture, etc are part of our (humanity's) history/current state. But it's a $hitty part. I wouldn't care to recreate it. Would you add a rape scene to your layout (era doesn't matter!)?
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Re: Racial segregation on the layout?

Postby areibel » Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:34 pm

If you're doing the Great Lakes or midwest, you don't need them.. The worst areas for segregation was in the deep South. My father graduated in 1955 from his school in Pennsylvania and color didn't matter- everyone went to the same schools here. Same with restauants, train stations, etc.. you were OK as long as you didn't get way down south!
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Re: Racial segregation on the layout?

Postby Arseny » Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:59 pm

ConducTTor wrote:Would you add a rape scene to your layout (era doesn't matter!)?


Hm. If I am modelling some criminal region, why not?
But the rape was not obligatory :smile: even in the criminal regions. While Nazi flag or Stalin portrait were obligatory for almost every official place in Germany and USSR in 1930s...

areibel wrote:If you're doing the Great Lakes or midwest, you don't need them.. The worst areas for segregation was in the deep South. My father graduated in 1955 from his school in Pennsylvania and color didn't matter- everyone went to the same schools here. Same with restauants, train stations, etc.. you were OK as long as you didn't get way down south!


Ok. You soothed me. :grin:
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Re: Racial segregation on the layout?

Postby Marquette » Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:38 pm

I've read that on the Sunset Limited from LA to New Orleans, once the westbound train left Texas, everybody got up and went to sit where they wanted. On the eastbound trip, Texas Rangers would get on the train at the border to make sure everyone is properly segregated.

This was part of the reason I decided against modelling South Carolina in the early 1950s.

As for North Korea, no you can't do it without having at least two portraits of the Great Leader (one on each side of the railway station). The sneaky trick I'll use when I get around to doing a module is to replace some of the propaganda texts with ridiculous/spoof slogans (so a Korean speaker will see it and recognise it as a spoof, even if non-speakers of Korean wouldn't recognise it).
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Re: Racial segregation on the layout?

Postby Arseny » Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:56 pm

As concerns N.Korea, some REAL slogans can sound as joke for foreign observer...
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