The Green Book…A Little Unknown Black History Travel Fact!
Travel is a breeze today compared to what African Americans had to endure in the past. Today you can pretty much drive anywhere you want, stay in any hotel you can afford and eat at any restaurant. Today is relatively safe for African Americans to travel. Unfortunately there was a time in American history where that was not always the case. To deal with the evils of travel, African Americans relied on the ‘Green Book.’
The official name was the ‘Negro Motorist Green Book’ and it was a comprehensive list of hotels, restaurants, gas stations and garages that were SAFE for African American travelers to use during a road trip. African Americans drove to avoid the segregation, discrimination, humiliation, insult and discomfort of riding public transportation. Driving was no walk in the park. Common dangers of driving often included service refusal, physical violence and sometimes death in white only sundown towns.
Sad but true, the ‘Green Book’ was necessary for its time period. Before the ‘Green Book,’ travelers would have to pack extra food, gasoline and buckets that were used for restroom breaks. Imagine not being able to stop to eat or use a restroom.
The ‘Green Book’ was started by Harlem mailman named Victor Hugo Green and it was published from 1936 to 1966. The purpose of the book was to compile a reliable list of resources to give Negro travelers the necessary information to keep them from running into difficulties on the road during the Jim Crow era. It became a trusted valuable resource often referred to as the ‘Bible of Black Travel.’
Watch this video on the historical ‘Green Book’
The early publications of the ‘Green Book’ cost $0.25 and as much as $1.95 with 15,000 published annually. Before Mr. Green stopped publication, the ‘Green Book’ had expanded to cover most of the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. Click here to learn more about the ‘Green Book.’
We owe Mr. Victor Hugo Green a big ‘Thank You’ for making the roads safe for African Americans to travel.
Be Happy. Be Fabulous. Be Well Traveled.
By The Travelin Diva ~ Kirstin N. Fuller