The Negro Travelers’ Green Book: 1959 facsimile edition

This is the Green Book movie fans want – to African-American motorists the Negro Motorist Green Book (which had by 1959 switched titles to the Negro Travelers’ Green Book) was essential to safe driving in the legally-segregated nation under the Jim Crow laws. The annual publication listed hotels, restaurants, service stations, and other businesses willing to take Black customers, and in doing so let drivers navigate the US. Started by mailman Victor Hugo Green in 1936, by 1959 the acclaimed series was edited and published by Victor’s wife Alma D. Green (Victor would die the following year.)

The book provides a state-by-state and city-by-city listing of businesses, including advertisements from proprietors reaching out to Black customers. Some of these were long-running, storied establishments, like the Booker T. Washington Hotel in San Francisco, where in its lounge you might run into W.E.B. Du Bois, Nat King Cole, or the Harlem Globetrotters; others were nothing more than a spare room in private home, the AirBNB of its day. All of them made life under the harshness of Jim Crow a little more livable. The 1959 edition, with the gentle warning “Carry your Green Book with you… you may need it” on the cover and promising “Assured Protection for the Negro Traveler” inside, comes from a period when the guide wasn’t running the travelogues and articles that augmented other years, and is basically wall-to-wall listings and ads, but for a one-page guide on “How to Guard Your Home During the Vacation Season.”

  • List price: $9.99
  • Paperback: 92 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1949996034
  • ISBN-13: 978-1949996036
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.2 x 6.8 inches

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