Once upon a time, there was a book published by Victor Green that served to advise black people in the segregated USA where they could safely travel and how they ought to conduct themselves in order to avoid problems (like being lynched). This NBC piece, The ‘Green Book’ Was a Travel Guide Just for Black Motorists, provides some details on the book itself and on the efforts of Calvin Ramsey to make sure this book has a place in our collective memory. This book is memorable because of its value in helping people find safe travel routes and places to stay so that they might avoid unpleasant confrontations, and as a reminder that there was a time (not so long ago) that people needed such a guide at all.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 formally put an end to segregationist policies and laws, though the influences of that era persisted for some time (and to an extent continue to persist today, as we have previously discussed). In the article, Ramsey describes his reasons for wanting to celebrate Victor Green:
“Discrimination is a poison and that’s why we need joy in spite of it all. There was no internet back then to get the green book, this was put together with love from black people for each other to keep each other safe. The Green Book to me was a love letter of sorts. There was a time when we loved each other so much that we would open our homes just to keep another black person safe. You could be a superstar, a singer, an artist and in those days still have no place to stay, eat or bathe while on the road, so this book was about the love and ability to preserve our dignity.”
The Green Book is an endeavor worthy of remembrance. This is my small part to help further the conversation. Please read, discuss, and share.