Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Post your Holding On research results in the Comments section here. From Mike Lohre

One association I thought of when reading about Steam Train was music I know that has the theme of travel and hobos in it from the post-Depression era.  I actually love this song and it speaks to the pride we can feel when we learn and take risks on our own path.  Hobos surely did that, and I admire the people who risked much for not only personal reasons but for the families they were trying to support.  This song reminds me of those brave people, and inspires me to take risks and be original.

Enjoy the lyrics and the links if you wish to learn more about Merle Haggard.  He's a total classic.


I Take A Lot of Pride In What I Am 

by Merle Haggard (traditional country music artist)

Things I learned in hobo jungle
Were things they never taught me in a class room
Like where to find a hand out
While bummin' through Chicago in the afternoon

Hey, I'm not braggin' or complainin'
I'm just talkin' to myself man to man
This ol' mental fat I'm chewin' didn't take a lotta doin'
But I take a lot of pride in what I am

I guess I grew up a loner
I don't remember ever havin' any folks around
But I keep thumbin' through the phonebooks
And looking for my daddy's name in every town

And I meet lots of friendly people
But I'll always wind up leavin' on the lam
Hey, where I've been or where I'm goin'
Didn't take a lotta knowin'

But I take a lot of pride in what I am
I never travel in a hurry
Because I got nobody waitin' for me anywhere
Home is anywhere I'm livin'

If it's sleepin' on some vacant bench in City Square
Or if I'm workin' on some road gang
Or just livin' off the fat of our great land
I never been nobody's idol but at least I got a title

And I take a lot of pride in what I am
I never been nobody's idol
I take a lot of pride in what I am
I take a lot of pride in what I am

Here's the link to the video so you can hear the song.

Here's his Wikipedia page for basic biography and info on Merle.


  1. I researched a little more about the economy of the porters. I found that the porters were paid very low wages, even for that time. On average I found that the men would only bring home about $810 a year (around $7,500 in our economy today). But also with the low pay you got to travel the world and see new things everyday, to many it was the best job you could find. Many of the passengers would also tip the porters for their services, so this was a chance to make a little more money. Overall having this job was a good stable income for the porters, and was looked at as a higher class job for African Americans in that day of age.,7,1,1,41

  2. To learn about some other interesting people I decided to research Count Basle, and Wally Pip.
    William James (Count) Basle was an American Jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. By age 16 he played jazz piano at parties, resorts, and other venues. In 1924 at the age of 20 he went to Harlem, where his performing career expanded. He toured with groups in major cities like Chicago, or St. Louis. Then in 1935 Basle formed his own jazz orchestra. He led the group for almost 50 years, creating innovations like the use of the two " split" tenor saxophone and many others.

    Walter (Wally) Pip was born in 1893 and at the age of 20 he became an American professional Baseball player. A first baseman in (MLB) he played for the Detroit Tigers, NY Yankees, and the Cincinnati Reds between 1913-1928. He led the American league in home runs in 1916 and 1917. He played along side Babe Ruth, Bob Meusel, Joe Dugan, and Waite Hoyt for the Yankees. In 1925, he lost his starting role to Lou Gehrig after which he then finished his career with Cincinnati.
    I researched all my information on Wikipedia.

  3. I research about what the Pullman sleeper cars looked like and what made them so special. I picked this research because the interview in Holding On didn't talk much about what they looked like and I wanted to know what they looked liked.

    The sleeper car has been around since 1830s, but George Mortimer Pullman an engineer decide to revolutionize the sleeper car. He did this by making it more comfortable. He built multiply models with different styles of beds and seats. The later versions of the cars had chandeliers, luxurious curtains made of silk, and they had very comfortable seats and beds. Each car could be transformed into a passenger car during the day and a sleeper car during the night. They did this buy having seat lay back to turn into beds or the beds could be folded down from the ceiling. One major problem that the Pullman company faced with their cars is they were to big. since they were to big they were not able to fit inside previously built train stations. This problem would be fixed after the death of President Lincoln because the government wanted to use the luxurious cars to transport his body to the burial site so they had to widen the train stations from Chicago to Springfield. The sleeper car would soon fall in popularity as fast modes of transportation started to come about.


  4. I did my research on the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. I knew they were a union but wanted to learn more about them. The BSCP was an African American labor union in the Pullman Company that started in 1925. At first not very many of the porters were in the union. It wasn't until 1937 porters were in the union. The two leaders of this union are A. Philip Randolph and Milton P. Webster. Randolph played a major role in this union by getting the company to recoinze them as a union. He had to win over many people in order for this to happen. The union was able to survive through the Great Depression. When the railroad industry fell this made enrollment in the BSCP decease. In the 1970's Amtrak's popularity started to rise and this gave hope to the BSCP. But in 1974 Amtrak made a deal with a rival union and they didn't survive after that. BSCP joined the Brotherhood of Railway Clerks in 1978. The name of this group today is the Transportation Communications International Union.

  5. I researched what the hobo camps looked like and what all they were about. To my surprise they have some rules to being there and being able to use the camp. I have the website so that you guys can take a look at it, its not long at all. I found it very interesting and odd at the same time, because I never thought that there would be rules to being a hobo but I guess here is.

  6. I decided to conduct research on Count Basie because for some reason I am the most intrigued by him. what I had found about Count Basie is that he was one of the all-time great's in the jazz genre of music. He was born August 4, 1904 in Red Bank, New Jersey. I researched more about his parent's and found out that his parent's had a musical background. His father was a mellophonist and his mother was a pianist. His greatest influencers where James P., Johnson and Fats Waller. Before he formed his own band he played vaudeville. Some of his songs that defined the era of swing where "One O'Clock Jump" and "Blue Skies." A big year for Count Basie was when he was the first African-American male to receive a Grammy Award. The biggest artists he worked with where Joe Williams and Ella Fitzgerald. I was also curious as to how he got the word "Count" in front of his last name "Basie" when his first name was William. He had received his name, "Count Basie" when he was on a radio broadcast for his bands performance. The radio announcer wanted to give his name some pizazz so he put "Count" in front of his last name which caught on quickly for people to say "Count Basie." He passed away April 26, 1984 in Florida.

  7. The research topic I chose was, are there modern day hobo's? The website I came across gave me an interview with Luther Gette. The interviewer meets him at the 107th Annual Hobo Convention, in Britt, Iowa. Within this interview he tells about how times have changed as Luther has gotten older. Luther Gette describes how he retired from the freight trains and now, he drives a Camry. At this convention something else was strange a freight train came; Summit County Metro parks arranged for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad to supply a train for a day. No the hobos didn't jump onto the train, they were welcomed with open arms and comfortable padded seats. Yes there are modern day hobos, and things have changed. But one thing that stayed true are their rules. "They learn about the hobo code of ethics - that no true hobo would take advantage of a stranger, and how they always took the least desirable jobs in the towns they'd pass through".
    Here is the website:

  8. I chose to look into the hobo convention. I found out it is in Britt, Iowa and held the second weekend in August since 1900. It is organized by the local Chamber of Commerce. It consist of hobos, rail-riders, and vagrants. They celebrate the American Traveling worker. There is a parade, Hobo 5K and 10K, Hobo king and Queen coronation, museum, auction, memorial service, outdoor church service, classic car show, arts & crafts, and lastly musical entertainment. It was started by Thomas Way, T. Potter, and W. Bradford. They wanted to gain attention for this small town and show it could do anything the larger cities could do.

  9. I chose to research Miller Huggins. he was a professional baseball player who played second base for the Cincinnati Reds and the St.Louis Cardinals. he also was the manager for the Cardinals and the New York Yankees. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on March 27, 1878. He died at the age of 50 on September 25, 1929 of pyaemia.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. I chose to research the brotherhood of the sleeping car porters which started in the year 1925. A group of pullman porters asked A. Phillip Randolph to form an independent union of sleeping car porters and maids. The porters worked for the pullman compan whose founder was George Pullman. Many blacks considered labor unions "trouble-makers" that worked against the best interests of black workers. Randolph made a conscientious effort to win the support of the middle-class black community because of its great influence in the black press and with public opinion. The company refused to negotiate with the union; some charged this was because the union was black. The Brotherhood was the verge of collapsing when Congress passed federal laws guaranteeing the right of all legitimate unions to organize workers without interference from their employers, giving the union a new life.

  12. The research topic I chose was railroads, then and now. Railroads were first made in England in 1829, and was introduced to the United States in 1830. Some of the first railroad tracks were actually in Ohio as well as Maryland and South Carolina. The railroads were very popular in the 19th and 20th century and had the maximum of 254,037 miles of railroads and slowly declined during the depression and growth of the highways.

  13. I chose to research hobo camps. I wasn't sure what a hobo camp was at first which really made me interested in learning about it. In the link that I will provide it talks about how hobos are to stay away from the city. They believe that people in the city don't understand why they are looking for work and also think that the hobos could hurt or steal from them. In the link below there is much more information that I found interesting and I hope you all do too.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.