A revival of attention to “The Negro Motorist Green Book: An International Travel Guide” (1936-1964) roused my curiosity about what places in North Carolina welcomed black travelers under Jim Crow.
It isn’t long, but the list in the 1949 edition includes some evocative names: the Carver, Lincoln and Booker T. Washington hotels; the Friendly City beauty parlor; the Black Beauty Tea Room; the New Progressive tailor shop; the Big Buster tavern and Blue Duck Inn.
Also mentioned is the Alexander Hotel in Charlotte, where such prominent figures as W.E.B. Du Bois and Louis Armstrong stayed before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 required that public accommodations be public.
6 thoughts on “Traveling while black: A Jim Crow survival guide”
Lew, you beat me to it! I was going to put something on our blog about this news item. However, you’re a much better writer, so I’m glad you did it first.
I will put out a call to NCM readers to be on the lookout for copies of the Green Book. The NC Collection does not have any, but we would LOVE to be able to add one or more of these to the collection. What a great resource for students and researchers studying this part of our past. If you do find any issues, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
I’ve looked around online for scanned copies for years, but never saw any but the 1949 edition. I’d really like to find out if any Orange County accommodations were ever listed.
There are other automobile green books online, but not specifically for African American travelers (such as: http://www.archive.org/details/automobilegreenb01autorich)
as always, thanks for the cool post!
I found this digitized copy at the University of Michigan, I believe:
North Carolina listings begin on page 55
Here’s the digitized 1956 edition with Google map:
1941 edition of Green Book now being offered on eBay — starting bid, $5,200….
good content to know about