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Amtrak / NABJ
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The summer interns at NABJ's national headquarters traveled to the 2011 NABJ convention, compliments of Amtrak. The stories of their travel experiences are provided below.

By Jonathan Blakely

My Amtrak journey was surprisingly a pretty good experience. I don't typically travel by train, so I really appreciated the scenic value that a land bound travel experience provides. The seats are much more comfortable on a train as opposed to a plane, and the café on board was also a nice touch. As far as other destinations that I may like to travel, I wouldn't really want to do much more exploration outside of the northeast near where I'm currently located in Washington, D.C.

I can't say that I could share much of a connection with African Americans from the 19th century, let alone any who served as Pullman Porters. I certainly respect and admire those who came before me for building a bridge for me, but I definitely can't place anything I've done so far in life up on the same pedestal as many of those major pioneers. I'm thankful that I can utilize this kind of resource freely, and I look forward to future when we technological advancements will undoubtedly make the train riding experience even better.

By Brittany Marshall

A trip on Amtrak has always been an experience. The one aspect of riding with Amtrak that attracts me is the fact you are able to see every state for its beauty as you pass through it. This trip to the city of brotherly love always travels through Maryland, Delaware and finally Pennsylvania. I enjoy looking outside the window and watching my journey through each city. Even though I am only 5 feet tall, I love the amount of legroom I have on train. If I had to go one place by train, I would travel to California. It would be a long trip but it would also be a chance to travel to the other side of the United States and being able to see every minute of it. This is something that would not be available by plane.

When traveling by train and greyhound, it always takes me back to the movements made by African Americans in the 20th Century. I always think of the Freedom Riders when I ride the Greyhound bus and for trips on Amtrak, I think of the Great Migration. The Great Migration is a movement that will forever change the lives of African Americans

By Morgan Harding

Riding the Amtrak train to Philadelphia was a good experience.  With this train ride being my first I quite enjoyed how comfortable the ride was.  As I traveled from Maryland through Delaware to Philadelphia, I was able to sit back and relax in my seat, stretch out my legs and catch up on some reading.

 The side windows on the train also allowed me to see a beautiful view while passing through various states. The train passed many beautiful bodies of water and many passengers took this moment to take pictures.

The ride to Philadelphia was a great one. I will definitely be taking Amtrak more often when I travel.

By Terry Cryer


A customary phrase I thought I would have heard boarding the train for the very first time in my life.  Coming from Texas, where the 5-lane highway is the most popular means of transportation, it never crossed my mind that I would currently be sitting on a train to Philadelphia. 

In the context of historical relevance, the train ride is important in that it parallels what many African Americans venturing from the South, seeking employment and opportunity, went through to escape the prejudice, oppression, and inequality that plagued the Jim Crow area South.  This" Great Migration" spawned a new era where southern blacks who had little to any literacy skills, could be afforded a better education, better job, and a better life.

As I sit here reflecting on the past and the African American journey, I can't help but to think how far we have progressed since the early 1900s.   

My grandfather, a sharecropper from Franklinton, Louisiana, once told me how he had the dream and desire to play collegiate basketball, but due to racial injustice he was never allowed the opportunity to do so.   

At the age of 19 he boarded a train and headed to Chicago, where a few relatives before him had previously ventured.  While there, he worked as a welder and sent money back to the family in Louisiana. He eventually moved and settled in Texas. 

I'm sure that the train my grandfather boarded back in the 30s was not as lavish as the Acella Express, but the feeling of boarding a train as he once did, fills my heart with joy, knowing that we have a singular connection that will forever exist.

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