Published from 1936 to 1966, the Green Book was hailed as the “black travel guide to America.” At that time, it was both dangerous and difficult for African Americans to travel, because black travelers couldn’t eat, sleep, or buy gas at most white-owned businesses. The Green Book listed hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and other businesses that were safe for black travelers. It was a resourceful and innovative solution to a horrific problem.
Candacy Taylor writes in her introduction, “The Green Book was published during a time when car travel symbolized freedom in America, but since racial segregation was in full force throughout the country, the open road wasn’t open to all. When black motorists picked up a copy of the Green Book, they were greeted by the words ‘Just What You Have Been Looking For!! NOW WE CAN TRAVEL WITHOUT EMBARRASSMENT.’” Chapters include:
- Driving While Black
- The Business of the Green Book
- Music Venues
- The Roots of Route 66
- Women and the Green Book
- And more!
It took courage to be listed in the Green Book, and Overground Railroad celebrates the stories of those who put their names in the book and stood up against segregation. It shows the history of the Green Book, how we arrived at our present historical moment, and how far we still have to go when it comes to race relations and systemic racism in America.