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The Negro Motorist Green-Book, 1940

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The Negro Motorist Green-Book, 1940
The New York Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture


This object appears in the following sections:

Roadside Communities: Ring's Rest, Muirkirk, Maryland, 1930s
Roadside Communities: Ring's Rest, Muirkirk, Maryland, 1930s — “Jim Crow” on the Road

Freedom Riders stopped in Anniston, Alabama

Cover of Negro Motorist Green-Book
Currently on display
Not a part of the official Smithsonian Collection
The Negro Motorist Green-Book was the brainchild of Victor Green, a New York City travel agent, who first published it in 1936. Then a local guide, the Green Book expanded to include national listing of which tourist businesses would serve black customers. This 1940 edition, prepared in conjunction with the United States Travel Bureau, cost twenty five cents, and covered "Hotels, Taverns, Garages, Night-Clubs, Restaurants, Service-Stations, Automotive, Tourist-Homes, Road-Houses, Barber-Shops, Beauty-Parlors."
Physical Description
Date Made:
New York
Roads were open to all motorists, but the facilities that lined them were not. African Americans who could afford to purchase a car declared the automobile was a way to avoid the ignominy of the Jim Crow car on the railroads. As George Schuyler declared in 1930, "...Negroes who can do so purchase an automobile as soon as possible in order to be free of discomfort, discrimination, segegation, and insult." But, in practice, the discriminatory policies of hotels, tourist cabins, and other lodgings made highway travel difficult, and tarnished the "freedom" of the open road. African Americans responded by creating African American holiday resorts such as Idelwild, Michigan, and by creating guides to help travelers negotiate their way through the racially charged American terrain.

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