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First Black woman UP train engineer to release autobiography, visit North Platte Train Show Saturday
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First Black woman UP train engineer to release autobiography, visit North Platte Train Show Saturday

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First Black woman UP train engineer to release autobiography, visit North Platte Train Show Saturday

Edwina Justus sits at the controls of a Union Pacific locomotive on the back cover of "Union Pacific Engineer: An autobiography of UP's first Black woman engineer."

The first Black woman to have been a train engineer for the Union Pacific Railroad is on track to release her new autobiography about her career.

Edwina “Curlie” Justus has written “Union Pacific Engineer,” a just-released book about her 22-year career with the railroad at North Platte.

The book tells about Justus’ efforts to become the first African American woman to work as a train engineer for Union Pacific during the 1970s, when such a career field was still dominated by men.

Justus, now living in Omaha, tells how she persevered despite incidents of sexism and racism that she experienced on the railroad. She also tells how she was welcomed and encouraged by other railroad employees.

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Both Edwina and her former husband, the late Art Justus, became train engineers for Union Pacific. They lived in North Platte with their family while operating trains to cities such as Cheyenne, Wyoming; Gering; and Marysville, Kan.

Edwina later became a familiar name in North Platte when she ran for mayor in 1996. She came in third in a field of six candidates.

Justus retired from Union Pacific in 1998 and later moved back to her native city of Omaha.

Justus’ book will be premiered at a book signing in North Platte on Saturday during the North Platte Train Show and Swap Meet at the D&N Event Center, 501 E. Walker Road.

Justus will be at the show from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. to sign books and to visit with anyone who might still know her from her work or residence in North Platte.

Additional information about the book and Justus is available from South Platte Press at southplattepress.com or by calling 402-367-3554.

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