January 22, 2019

The Green Book: A Historic Travel Guide for Black America (Part I)

Between 1936 and 1967, the Negro Motorist Green Book was essential for the survival of thousands of Black Americans in an era of segregation, cemented into the American legal system through Jim Crow laws, sundown towns where African Americans were under threat of violence after sunset, and a sharp increase in lynchings and other forms of hate crimes.

The places listed in Green Books range from hotels and restaurants to night clubs, grocery stores, gas stations, and even “tourist homes,” where homeowners welcomed weary travelers to spend the night when they had nowhere else to go.

Outside the travel guides (which are available for free online), little is known about the vast majority of Green Book sites. Learn more about the guide—and the places affiliated with it—that mark an important chapter in American history.

Learn more about the Green Book in Part II of our video series.

Shannon Lawrence is a video producer who has worked on stories and videos for the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.


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