Before Purple Roofs, There Was The Green Book

Published Date Author: , January 8th, 2016

Editor’s note: I find this story fascinating. Just as LGBT travelers needed a guide to places to stay that were friendly to them, African Americans had their own guide before Civil Rights legislation forced all public accommodations to serve their community without bias.

The Green Book

For African American travelers, much of the U.S. could be a hateful and dangerous place, even into the 1960’s.

Jim Crow laws across the South mandated that restaurants, hotels, pool halls and parks strictly separate whites and blacks. Lynchings kept blacks in fear of mob violence. And there were thousands of so-called “sundown towns,” including in northern states like Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan, which barred blacks after dark, an unofficial rule reinforced by the threat of violence.

So in 1936, a postal worker named Victor Green began publishing a guide to help African American travelers find friendly restaurants, auto shops and accommodations in far-off places. Green dubbed the guide after himself – the “Green Book” – and published it for decades. Green says he was inspired by the Jewish press, which had long published information on restricted places.

By Ana Swanson – Full Story at The Washington Post

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