'The Green Book Guide' Makes a Comeback

The guide that helped blacks navigate the tumultuous terrain of Jim Crow and segregation surfaces as a play.


The Green Book Guide is making a comeback. Beginning in 1936, many African-American travelers relied on a booklet to help them decide where they could comfortably eat, sleep, buy gas, find a tailor or beauty parlor, shop on a honeymoon to Niagara Falls or go out at night. A Harlem postal employee and civic leader named Victor H. Green created the guide in response to one too many accounts of humiliation or violence where discrimination continued to hold strong. These were facts of life not only in the Jim Crow South but in all parts of the country, and this guide helped black travelers find places that welcomed blacks along their journey. Over time its full title -- The Negro Motorist Green Book: An International Travel Guide --  became abbreviated, simply, as the Green Book. Calvin Ramsey decided to write a play about the guide entitled The Green Book. He is among the writers, artists, academics and curators returning a spotlight to the book and its author. The Green Book is the first of "Backstage at the Lincoln," a series of live play readings presented in partnership with Theater J and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. The series launched on Sept. 15.

Read more at The New York Times.

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