The Green Book – A Travel Manager

To wrap up our focus on black resistance during Black History Month, today we will talk about a resource that helped black Americans travel safely through the country. It is called The Green Book.

How many of you have traveled with your family to places you have never been before? Back in the 40s and 50s, most of the family trips were taken by car. The American Automobile Association (AAA) had travel agents who put together a route to take and places to stay along the way.

AAA Logo

What is AAA?

According to Wikipedia, the American Automobile Association (AAA), also referred to as Triple A, was founded in Chicago on March 4, 1902 in response to lack of roads and highways suitable for cars to travel on. At that time, nine motor clubs with a total of 1,500 members banded together to form the AAA. The first AAA road maps were published in 1905. AAA began printing hotel guides in 1917. They have done many other things to help travelers as events happened in history. During the oil crisis of the 1970s, the AAA Fuel Gauge Report was created to assist motorists in finding gas stations that had fuel and were open. They are still going strong today with many resources to help motorists find the services that they need.

When I was growing up, our family did many car trips for our vacations. We used AAA several times for their travel services. If you want to learn more about the history of AAA, here is a link to their website AAA.

What is The Green Book?

The Green Book, also known as “The Negro Motorist Green Book,” was a vital travel companion from 1936 to 1966 during the era of racial segregation. Picture Victor H. Green, a postal worker from Harlem, New York, creating this guidebook. Its mission? To help families like yours find safe and friendly places during a time when racial discrimination was a major deal.

For parents navigating the challenges of racial segregation, the Green Book was like a roadmap, pointing out businesses, restaurants, and hotels that welcomed African American travelers. It became a lifeline, ensuring a smoother journey for your family. So, imagine it as a must-have tool for parents back then, making sure their teens had a safer and more inclusive adventure.

The Green Book

So, The Green Book is similar to what AAA would provide for its clients, but The Green Book was a must have for the Black traveler. It not only gave you the safe routes of travel and places to stay, it also provided information on curfews in different parts of the country. There were times of the day that Blacks weren’t allowed to travel. And if they did, they were hurt and even killed.

Last week we talked about Jackie Robinson. While travelling with the Brooklyn Dodgers, he was frequently refused a room at the places the team was staying. He faced some of these same challenges even though he was a professional baseball player.

The final edition was renamed, now called the Travelers’ Green Book: 1966–67 International Edition: For Vacation Without Aggravation; it was the last to be published after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made the guide effectively obsolete by outlawing racial discrimination in public accommodation.

The Green Book – The Movie

In 2018, The Green Book movie was released. It is about Dr. Don Shirley who is a world-class African-American pianist who’s about to embark on a concert tour in the Deep South in 1962. In need of a driver and protection, Shirley recruits Tony Lip, a tough-talking bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx. Together, they confront segregation and things presented in The Green Book. By watching the movie, I saw how hard it was for Black to travel with those rules and restrictions.

What can we learn from this resource?

The Green Book was a rule book that Blacks were expected to follow when they travelled. It was just another example of resistance that Blacks had to face while trying to achieve inclusion in society.

We want to accept that there are many people in this country from different cultures. We want to celebrate that diversity and not limit people because they are different. This month we talked about things they had to fight against and how they ended up overcoming those challenges. But, some of those challenges still exist. So, there is still work to be done.

Interested in learning more about The Green Book? Here is a link to Wikipedia.

Want to learn more about Diversity and Inclusion or other challenges teens face? Be sure to check out our resource page. Resources

The Street’s Way is coming in 2024

The Street's Way Cover - on bench
Photo by Sharon McAleer

Do you know about The Way Series? It is a series of coming-of-age novels for teens and young adults about the challenges they face. Coming this spring, The Street’s Way, the third book in The Way Series. It is a continuation of the storyline in books one and two, but also introduces a character who is running away from home and a bad situation.

Follow this link to my books tab to learn more about the series and to pick up your copies!

Selma’s Books.

Have a great week!

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