Friday , April 19 2024

Segregation, Racism, and An Inventive Postal Worker: The Rise Of The Real-Life “Green Book”

Forget the movie, which won the 2019 Oscar for Best Picture despite criticism for being overly simplistic and “whitewashed”—the real-life “Green Book” was a widely-distributed paperback pamphlet that listed tens of thousands of businesses that would serve African Americans in pre-Civil Rights Act America. In this interview, we speak with Candacy Taylor, a Bay Area-based cultural documentarian putting together a book and Smithsonian Museum exhibit based on the Green Book. The first few editions of the Negro Motorist Green Book started pretty small, but by the 1960s they contained over 100 pages of hotels, restaurants, beauty parlors and auto garages across the U.S. “A lot of people say the Green Book was like a AAA for black people, but it was so much more because it had drug stores and sanitariums and doctors and taxi service and anything you might need on the road,” Taylor says. “It was almost like a Yellow Pages of black businesses, so you knew where you would be welcome. It was
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