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William Boyd
Commentary: 'Pullmen Porter Blues' at Arena Stage brings flood of family memories

When I went to see "Pullman Porter Blues" at Arena Stage this month, not only was it an opportunity to see an excellent play, but it was also a chance to delve into my own heritage. Set in 1937, "Pullman Porter Blues" is the story of three generations of black pullman car porters, the highly trained, uniformed men who took care of every need, around the clock, of first-class, sleeping-car passengers. In the play, the grandfather, Monroe, appears happy to do the bidding of his white supervisor, but he has some tricks up his sleeve. His son, Sylvester, on the other hand, is an outspoken rebel, working undercover to help form the country's first black union...