Museum director and cultural activist Lyn Hughes was born on March 1, 1945 in Cincinnati, Ohio to Otis and Alberta Cooper. She graduated from Spertus College in Chicago, Illinois before receiving her Ph.D. degree in education with a minor in museum studies from Northern Illinois University, in DeKalb, Illinois.
Hughes was a professional entertainer, singing in a girl’s group beginning in high school. She left the music business and began working in real estate and cultural economic development in Chicago. Hughes did this so more than a decade before founding the National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum in 1995. The National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum is the first Black labor history museum in the United States focused on the story of the Pullman Porters, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters labor union, and its founder A. Philip Randolph. Since then, she served as a subject matter specialist on the Pullman Porters, and has been a consultant on numerous documentary films on the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, including the 2003 Showtime docudrama 10,000 Black Men Named George. Her work with the museum has been featured on ABC's Good Morning America, and in publications like USA Today, Essence, AARP, and the Chicago Tribune. She authored the book, An Anthology of Respect: The Pullman Porters National Historic Registry Of African American Railroad Employees in 2007, and created the companion national traveling exhibition, "From Servitude to Civil Rights.” In 2010, Hughes was elected museum president emeritus, and subsequently served as a consultant for Cultural Edutainment, LLC. In 2012, Hughes was the founding director of the Center For Black Labor Research, in Chicago; and, in 2016, she became the creator and host of Live From Pullman National Monument, a talk radio show focused on cultural economic development tourism.
Hughes received the Living Legacy Award from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), a Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars 2006 honor, the 2007 Distinguished Service Award from the Amistad Research Center, is listed in the Who's Who Registry Among Executive and Professional Women 2008, and received The Purpose Prize from Encore.org in 2013.
Lyn Hughes was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 11, 2019.
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Chicago State University
Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership
Northern Illinois University
Hawaii and Bermuda
Museum director and cultural activist Lyn Hughes (1945 - ) founded the National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum in 1995, and is the author of An Anthology of Respect: The Pullman Porters National Historic Registry Of African American Railroad Employees.
National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum
Cultural Edutainment LLC
Center for Black Labor Research
Live From Pullman National Monument