It’s Black History Month friends!!
When I think about my experience with the American History classes that were offered in High School, I realize people that look like me didn’t show up in the textbook that often.
I think there was a chapter or two that touched on Black History. However, not enough to help a young brown girl growing up in Battle Creek, MI truly discover more about her ancestors.
My Brief Black History Moment
Here are a few topics I remember discussing…
- That Africans were brought to America on ships and enslaved
- Most darker blacks (LIKE ME) picked cotton and the lighter blacks lived in the big house as servants
- Who Lincoln was to us
- The Emancipation Proclamation
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Believe it or not some of those topics were not in the book, they were given to us as handouts. All the information taught was really surface information and they didn’t dare discuss radical leaders, like Malcolm X or provide any history on the Black Panthers movement.
Sad but TRUE! Based off the information provided during that brief black history lesson I walked away more confused than when it started.
The Green Book: African American Travel in the Jim Crow Era
Which brings me to The Green Book!
When I found out that there was a book called, The Green Book, created to help African American travel safely in the Jim Crow Era I was completely tripped out! Yet, it makes total sense. It is 2020 and we are still fighting for equality during our travels. #DrivingWhileBlack! Imagine Driving While Black in the Jim Crow Era! Lord have mercy!
During this time, segregation and racism was completely out of control, so Victor Hugo Green, an African American postal worker from New Jersey/Harlem, founded The Green Book Negro Traveller.
The Green Book started as a small publication, which included only hotels and restaurants in the New York area.
He eventually started to gather field reports from other postal workers and provided payment to readers who submitted valid information. As time went on, the book’s audience grew and took on a life of its own. It became so popular that it even reached international territory.
Green was very thorough in his findings. There was even a warning on the guide’s cover: “Carry your Green Book with you—You may need it.”
Fact: Several musicians would look to The Green Book to help them travel the roadways during tours. Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald and many more.
FAQ About Jim Crow/The Green Book – African American Travel:
- What is Jim Crow? Jim Crow laws were a collection of state and local statutes that legalized racial segregation.
- What are the Jim Crow Dates? 1865 – 1968 (immediately following the ratification of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in the United States).
- What is the Green Book? The “Green Book” listed establishments in segregationist strongholds such as Alabama and Mississippi, but its reach also extended from Connecticut to California—any place where its readers might face prejudice or danger because of their skin color.
- What type of establishments did it eventually include? Hotels, boarding houses, taverns, restaurants, service stations and much more.
- Why was it called “The Green Book”? Named after its author, Victor Hugo Green.
- When was it established? First published in 1936.
- Where can you find a copy? EBAY for sure.
Check out the Green Book Project/started in 2016 and the movie the Green Book.
Happy Black History friends! Remember to Stay Sassy!