The Negro Traveler’s Green Book : How Black People Navigated Travel During the Jim Crow Era

in today’s “Revolutionary Corner”,

bildeThis MadMan has always said it was the grassroots organizations that led to change in the civil rights movement.  There are so many unsung heroes that will never get a statue, a national holiday or a song sung in their honor.

Well today we honor Victor Green, author of “The Negro Traveler’s Green Book“, a $1 publication written for sisters and brothers in the struggle who needed to know how to navigate in Jim Crow America.  The publication listed Black owned businesses and “Negro friendly” establishments throughout the country where a weary Black traveler could eat, get gas and rest during their travels without being lynched.

Written during the high time of Jim Crow and years before the March on Washington  (note: it was used during the March as Jim Crow was still widely practiced at the time), it became what is called a “game-changer” when it was published in 1936 because it brought home just how bad things were for Black folk in America at the time.

Victor Green was an employee of the US Postal service, (who was the main employer of African-american during the time), and had a great resource of information at his fingertips to do something to help Blacks navigate the tricky task of travel in Jim Crow America.

Several editions were published, with the last being an edition focused on Negro friendly establishments and “tourist homes” (bed and breakfasts) in Washington DC ahead of the march on Washington.

Green said it was his life’s goal to one day be able to end publishing his popular book as it would mean the end of jim Crow and the beginning of a new era for Blacks in America.  “There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published,” Victor Green wrote . “That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States. It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication for then we can go wherever we please.

Although Green did not live to see it, his life’s goal was achieved when The Green Book suspended publication 1964, after the Civil Rights Acts was passed.

Hats off to you Mr. Victor Green.

 

 

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