The Green Book of South Carolina: A Guide to African American Cultural Sites, is a contemporary successor to The Negro Motorist Green Book; an annual guide by Victor Hugo Green, a New York City postal employee and travel writer.
During the Jim Crow era of widespread, legally prescribed racial bias, African American travelers faced manifold difficulties of being denied food and lodging and dangers, including arbitrary arrest and maltreatment. Green’s guidebook, listing services and places welcoming to African Americans, eventually expanded its coverage beyond New York to include much of North America; thus, creating a parallel, secret and safe universe for African American journeyers.
With the Civil Rights Act of 1964, outlawing racial discrimination, in time, The Green Book ceased publication. Today, there is revived interest in The Green Book as a relic of a seminal period of American history, as a reminder to current generations of past ingenuity in the face of barriers, and as a reference for those who desire to explore African American culture.
© 2022 PRA
#clevedaleinn #spartanburgsouthcarolina #lovewhereyoulive #hubcitypress #wegojafoundation
 Published jointly by Hub City Press, Spartanburg, SC, and the International African American Museum, Charleston, SC (2022).
 aka The Negro Motorist Green-Book, The Negro Travelers’ Green Book, or, simply, The Green Book; published 1936-1966.
 Victor Hugo Green (1892-1960); photograph c. 1956
8 thoughts on “The Green Book”
What a great idea this was. I’m very glad to know about it. As necessary as the old version of the Green Book was, I’m so happy the new one can concentrate on building awareness and knowledge rather than allaying fear, inconvenience, and danger of unsafe and unpleasant encounters.
Thank you for highlighting this, Paul.
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You are welcome, always, my beloved sister. And I, too, delight in the prospects of highlighting and heightening our (as humankind) awareness of historical and cultural differences and (therefore, perhaps paradoxically, yet no less truly, I think, again, as one humankind) shared significances…
Nevertheless, I also lament — given what I consider the current uber-caustic climate of and in our land — that we may find ourselves returning to a day when The Green Book (and like manuals for manifold and varied peoples) will again become necessary. Aye, I think that as there remain “sundown” towns and areas where people of color dare not remain at the close of any given day, The Green Book, in terms of its original conception and use, still may be an essential resource and reference.
On a happier note, Pontheolla and I have discovered (perhaps, in part, motivated by the viral pandemic slow-down, shutdown of travel far and wide) an increased interest in folk of color seeking out and patronizing enterprises owned and operated by people of color.
Love, always and in all ways, to you, Ted, and Emilia,
Hi Paul & Karen!!
I intended to comment on this earlier! I had heard of this years ago Paul but thanks for filling in some of the gaps for me.
I agree with Paul that we may need this book again given today’s climate. One of the primary reasons I joined the African American RVers group is because I know they’d share places NOT to go. For example two months ago a member posted that he was so grateful for a cashier at a gas station in KY who delayed giving him his change back & receipt until all the Caucasian shoppers had left the store. She then told him to please leave town before sunset and he promised her he would. He said he’d planned on spending the night there and that she had really saved him and they hugged before he left and she told him she was sorry. Several full time tractor trailer drivers then contributed to the discussion that they don’t even fill up with gas in KY they just drive straight through!! Who knew???????? So sad we still have to worry about where we can safely stop and shop for necessities. But I’m not gonna let that deter me, I’ll keep trying to be as safe as I can without being scared!
I also love Paul’s point that many African American travelers are seeking out places to stay owned by people of Color! At least we can stay up past when the sun goes down without being afraid we would get our heads blown off.
Much love to you both!!
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Dear Paul and Loretta,
It takes my breath away to think that the totally justified fears that created the necessity for the original Green Books are still necessary and reasonable anywhere in this country. And yet I know it’s true. I knew all along that the poisonous prejudices and grotesque, stunted attitudes I grew up witnessing, and much to my chagrin and shame, being taught, had never really died; they had simply gone underground and grown quieter, papered over by legislative and court action and to some degree social and cultural norms. And now, after some years of false hope that things had changed far more than they really have, we see those same old cancerous habits of mind and perversions of heart creep back out into the light of day. I am so sorry, my dear friends, so sorry that you still must carry terrible burdens that were never yours to carry.
Do you think any hope lies in the degree of openness with which the society is being confronted at this point in history? It seems to me that there is a new and growing determination on the part of many Black and other non-white people. and some portion of white people as well, not to allow racial hatred, division, and even indifference to crawl back into the shadows and hide in order to spew its poisons any more, not to allow old, accustomed attitudes of consciousness comfortable to white society to silently maintain legitimacy based on false or incomplete recitations of history or tacit assumptions of white supremacy.
I think we are in a pitched battle right now over the same old demonic efforts to put a neat, tight lid back on truths that keep emerging every single day. I have a hard time seeing how that can happen, given the energy there seems to be for openness. I hope I’m not too naive in that hope.
I am so glad to have you both in my life and in the lives of my family. Thank you for being willing to walk with me, telling the truth about your lives and experiences. You help to ground me in that truth and its sacredness. We will, I think, help make this society better, more accountable, kinder, more loving, more united, more open, more just. Thank you for being my sister and my brother.
Much love to you both,
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Yes, our (and, here, I dare speak for Loretta) Karen, you are our sister with whom we walk in this world and share our truths AND relish the truths of your life and witness that you, graciously givingly, share with us.
Concerning our current struggles as a society and hope…
Yes, there are moments when all seems dark or, at the least, exceedingly gray and I barely can see any dispelling light of hope. Yet usually (at least, so far in my life) when that happens, I remember (and this is an instance of mind over matter, that is, when what I think can assuage how I feel) that hope is my capacity to imagine in the face of all that I cannot see or all that I do not experience in the instant moment…
In this, most recently, I find myself recalling the words of Coretta Scott King, who said (when and in what context I do not remember), in effect, freedom is not generationally transmissible, for it must be won era upon era. I have come to favor the truth of her testimony.
As for the ills of our human need to oppress and subordinate others — oft driven by a hunger to hate “the other” that, I believe, derives from a soul-sickness of self-hatred (that is, the alienation of self from that sense of the reality of the commonality of all humankind) — always this hath been an element of our creaturely ontology. Thus, I assume, always it shall be until humans are no more. This, again, calls me to fall back on Mrs. King’s clear-eyed vision of the mission of each generation to renew, to preserve, and to extend liberty to more and more folk.
So, where am I left, at this moment, in this realization? That I, in my breath and strength, my life and labor, have a daily choice — one that presents itself in each moment of thinking and feeling, intending and acting. Do I stand on the side of liberty or do I not? I choose to stand on the side of liberty. Do I ever fail? Desire to quit? Make mistakes? Wrong choices? Prefer my leisure? Avoid confrontation? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes, and more. Ne’ertheless, what is the searing, sacred thread that runs through my living, aye, my being? I’d like to believe it is love and justice — being and doing unconditional benevolence and fairness for all people at all times and in all ways. And it is this that allows me to sleep at night, especially when I despise myself for my failures or am restless at the latest sign of our societal ills or both. And it is this that calls me to arise each day to try again, in the Spirit’s strength and hope.
That’s all I have.
Love, always and in all ways,
Karen I thought I had answered this! Thank you so much!! These really are crazy times but I am so comforted by amazing people like you and the cashier I described for being outspoken about these issues!! We appreciate your support more than I can say!! Thankfully I pray and hope that there are people like you sprinkled around the country and can help us if necessary!! Thank God for that!!!
Love you both!!
Paul, I think you are wise to remember Mrs. King’s belief that freedom, justice, and equality are never finally won for good. I too will remember it. I believe it must be the work of every moment of our lives, of every encounter we have with another human being, to convey unstintingly our hearts’ convictions that worth, dignity, and the right to freedom and respect belong to every human being. In this moment in history especially, that careful, constant, loving work is, I believe, how we counter minute by minute and day by day the cynicism, greed, and self-absorption that have created a climate where those terrible past evils we thought were dying away have been re-animated and flagrantly loosed again. There is no more important work for any of us to do, no worthier goal for us to pursue. It’s the work we are called by our Creator to do and to call others to do, I fully believe.
Loretta, for as long as I am breathing, I am here for all who are judged, demeaned, dismissed, and put in danger because of racial, ethnic, and gender prejudices and fears. Any lesser commitment would, I believe, betray a call God laid on my heart long ago.
Bless you both, my sister and brother. I love you.
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“…I believe it must be the work of every moment of our lives, of every encounter we have with another human being, to convey unstintingly our hearts’ convictions that worth, dignity, and the right to freedom and respect belong to every human being. In this moment in history especially, that careful, constant, loving work is, I believe, how we counter minute by minute and day by day the cynicism, greed, and self-absorption that have created a climate where those terrible past evils we thought were dying away have been re-animated and flagrantly loosed again. There is no more important work for any of us to do, no worthier goal for us to pursue. It’s the work we are called by our Creator to do and to call others to do, I fully believe…”
My dearest Karen, as I’m wont to say (AND I’m wont to say manifold things) when I hear or read a gospel-word, that is, a distillation of the good news of Jesus, this’ll preach!