The Green Book | WBEZ
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99% Invisible

The Green Book

The middle of the 20th Century was a golden age for road travel in the United States. Cars had become cheap and spacious enough to carry families comfortably for hundreds of miles. The Interstate Highway System had started to connect the country’s smaller roads in a vast nationwide network. That freedom and mobility, however, was not equally available to everyone.

Some African-American tourists would drive all night instead of trying to find lodging in an unfamiliar and possibly dangerous town. They would pack picnics so they could avoid stopping at restaurants that might refuse to serve them.

But in 1936, a man named Victor Hugo Green started a travel guide to make life on the road easier and safer for black motorists.

The Green Book

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