Oregon State University
Oregon African American Railroad Porters Oral History Collection

Daniel Allen Oral History Interview. June 16, 1983

Daniel Allen Oral History Interview

Interview conducted by Michael Grice.

June 16, 1983

Location:  Location Unknown.

Daniel Allen was born in Muldoon, Texas in 1899. His railroad experience began in 1915 as a “sniper” caring for a stretch of railroad track in one area. The crew was racially mixed. Allen recalls working as cotton harvesters with his family until they ran out of money in Lubbock, Texas. He then worked as a cement worker for a contractor and went on strike with six or seven other workers to demand a raise. Soon after he got a job as a chair car porter on the Santa Fe railroad but was fired when the contractor he had worked took revenge by calling the railroad about him. Allen then worked at the Giles Lake shipyard until he was hired by the Union Pacific in 1945. The pay was so low that his sons still working at the shipyard helped to pay his bills. He retired in 1967. Allen also describes racism in Portland Oregon and the brotherhood he felt with his railroad co-workers.