There was only so much the Green Book could do

“Through the ’50s and well into the ’60s, African-Americans bought the Green Book [The Negro Motorist Green Book: An International Travel Guide] and other guides. But just being on the highway could be a frightening experience.

“In the summer of 1960, Irene Staple’s parents drove her to Anniston, Ala., to give her a look at their roots and to teach her a lesson in present-day life in the Deep South.

” ‘By the time we got to Raleigh-Durham there was a tension in the air,’ Staples remembered. ‘By the time we got to Alabama I was hysterical.’

“Shell Oil had provided the family with detailed road maps and a list of all the Shell stations along the route. When the family returned to New York, Staple’s father returned his credit card to the company. Shell stations in the South had refused to serve him because he was black.”

— From Divided Highways: Building the Interstate Highways, Transforming American Life” by Tom Lewis (2013)

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.