July 28, 2011

Riding the Rails

by Errol Lincoln Uys (pronounced Ace)

Most people are aware that there were hoboes roaming the United States and Canada in search of work during the 1930s. But what many may not realize is that a lot of these hoboes were teenage boys and girls. Even children as young as eight years old were hopping freight cars, either alone or with family. Their reasons for riding the rails varied -  for adventure, to escape abusive homes, to find work, or to not be a burden on their poverty-stricken parents.

Inspired by letters, oral histories, and archival photographs, this is an elegantly told, well-researched story about a unique moment in U.S. history. While the men and women never forgot the hardships on the road, they also recall moments of comradeship and exhilarating freedom that forever changed their lives.

To bring the story vividly to life, watch the documentary, Riding the Rails (on PBS Video).

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