President Obama made his way to Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy in Chicago Thursday to endorse his pal Mayor Rahm Emanuel for re-election and designate the Pullman Historic District a national monument.
But the main topic of discussion amongst many Chicagoans is Obama allegedly throwing up a gang sign during his visit. A snapshot captured Obama flicking his wrist down in what many call a “Die 5” hand motion.
Many Chicagoans took to social media to weigh in on Obama’s hand sign:
All jokes aside, Obama’s designation of the Pullman district will help preserve factories and other buildings on the 203-acre site where many African-Americans lived while working as porters, waiters and maids on the railroad’s luxury cars, according to the NY Times.
The Pullman District has a rich history for many black Chicagoans. The district housed workers employed by the Pullman Palace Car Company, many of whom were former slaves, according to ABC News.
Pullman workers reportedly went on strike in 1894 when tycoon George Pullman lowered wages, but not rent in the district. Congress established the Labor Day Holiday only six days after the strike ended.
In the 1920s, workers created the first black labor union. Pullman Palace became the first large American company to recognize a union of black workers.
“These men and women, without rank, without wealth or title, became the bedrock of a new middle class,” Mr. Obama said, noting that Michelle Obama’s great-grandfather was a Pullman porter, according to the NYTimes
“Part of what we are preserving here is also history,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s understanding that places that look ordinary are nothing but extraordinary.”
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