Chicago Illinois – 09-03-2019 (PRDistribution.com) — The Diary of a Black Railroad Pioneer shares the exceptional journey of Jennette Spencer, the first African American woman Signal Maintainer (Engineer Department) in the United States, a profession historically governed by men yet boldly dominated by a determined female pioneer. Spencer’s insightful diary details her unique voyage through life, from her painful struggles within the four walls of her family’s two-room home in Southside Chicago to the exceptional triumphs inside and outside the classroom, to the extreme pits and peaks of her life on railroads across America.
Jennette’s life on the tracks was perpetually scrutinized, as she was constantly undermined by her male counterparts, yet among the name-calling, workplace sabotage, and routine physical threats, Jennette emerged as the first “queen” of the railroad. However, her battle was never a straight path to victory. From suicide attempts to enduring multiple acts of assault to battling addictions, her will to not only survive but thrive inspires readers from all walks of life to do more, learn more, and love more, no matter what. In a profession that failed to support an unprecedented trailblazer, Jennette serves as a prime example of independence and resilience, thus encouraging the masses to elevate, respects, and support others, regardless of gender and skin color. In The Diary of a Black Railroad Pioneer, Spencer’s impact on the countless railroad workers she encountered is immeasurable, yet her mission is to reach the masses through her story of perseverance and dedication illustrates a life unlike any other.
Jennette Spencer, named after the skillful midwife who delivered her, was born on January 7,1954, in Sunflower, Mississippi, to a beautiful, spirited woman, Willa Beatrice Scott-Spencer. Jennette is the oldest of three siblings, two sisters, and one brother. Jennette began her railroad career in the spring of 1979 when she was hired as an assistant signalman. From available historical data, Jennette made history in being the first African American female to have joined the railroad in this capacity. Following her time as an assistant signalman, Jennette became a signal maintainer with responsibilities for the installation, maintenance, and trouble-shooting failures within the required Federal Railroad Administration & Union Pacific Railroad standards for the Commuter Operations Service Unit. Over the years, this trailblazing pioneer conquered countless barriers by being knowledgeable and credible and earning the respect of co-workers, peers, and supervisors. Thirty-five years after the end of her railroad tenure, Spencer continues in her pursuit of excellence and rigor. Outside ofthe railroad, this long-time Chicago resident has vested interests in various philanthropies and community efforts such as supporting women’s shelters and multiple fundraising projects and tutoring college students in reading and math. She builds robots, swims competitively, plays piano, is a substitute teacher, and owes her own photography business, Spencer Design Creations. While her love of lights, wires, and electricity will also be a major part of her legacy, so will her husband of nineteen years and counting, Tyrone E. O’Lander, and her white highlander terrier dog,
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