[APG Public List] Fwd: [VA-HIST] The Open Road Wasn’t Quite Open to All

Craig Kilby persisto at live.com
Wed Aug 25 17:01:18 MDT 2010

Tis came through the Library of Virginia list serve. But it has national implications about the "Jim Crow" era--and it wasn't just in the South. This is gooding reading. Thought I'd pass this one along. If you recall the old 1970s ad for women's cigarettes, the saying "We've Come a Long Way, Baby" -- this would be the poster child for the civil rights movement in years to come. This "Green Book" must have been a "must have" on how to avoid trouble as a black person traveling in the US.

Craig K

Begin forwarded message:

> From: Jon Kukla <jonkukla at GMAIL.COM>
> Date: August 25, 2010 9:39:51 AM EDT
> Subject: [VA-HIST] The Open Road Wasn’t Quite Open to All
> Reply-To: Discussion of research and writing about Virginia history <VA-HIST at LISTLVA.LIB.VA.US>
> A few days ago The New York Times ran an article about Victor H.
> Green's guides for African-American travelers during the Jim Crow era -
> (excerpt below from History News Network).   Curious about its listings, I
> found a pdf. of the 1949 edition on-line that may interest others on
> VA-HIST. Some Virginia entries are on pp 70-73.
> http://www.autolife.umd.umich.edu/Race/R_Casestudy/Negro_motorist_green_bk.htm
> -jk
> The Open Road Wasn’t Quite Open to
> All<http://hnn.us/roundup/entries/130611.html>
> Source: *NYT* <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/23/books/23green.html?hpw>(8-22-10)
> For almost three decades 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. In 1949, when the guide was 80 pages,
> there were five recommended hotels in Atlanta. In Cheyenne, Wyo., the
> Barbeque Inn was the place to stay.
> A Harlem postal employee and civic leader named Victor H. Green conceived
> 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, where black
> travelers never knew where they would be welcome. Over time its full title —
> “The Negro Motorist Green Book: An International Travel Guide” — became
> abbreviated, simply, as the “Green Book.” Those who needed to know about it
> knew about it. To much of the rest of America it was invisible, and by 1964,
> when the last edition was published, it slipped through the cracks into
> history.
> Until he met a friend’s elderly father-in-law at a funeral a few years ago,
> the Atlanta writer Calvin Alexander Ramsey had never heard of the guide. But
> he knew firsthand the reason it existed. During his family trips between
> Roxboro, N.C., and Baltimore, “we packed a big lunch so my parents didn’t
> have to worry about having to stop somewhere that might not serve us,”
> recalled Mr. Ramsey, who is now 60....
> Jon Kukla
> www.JonKukla.com
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