Victor H. Green
The Negro Motorist Green Book
Reproduced from the Original Electronic Text at the New York Public Library's Digital Collections.
Racism made travel difficult for African Americans for much of the twentieth century. If they wanted to stop for gas, or eat in a restaurant, or stay in a hotel, they could not tell which places would turn them away. Many families chose to eat and sleep in their cars rather than risk being humiliated at restaurants and hotels that they did not know.
The "Green Book," published between 1936 and 1967, was a guide for
African-American travelers to the hotels and other businesses that
accepted black customers. When an area had no hotels that would
accept African Americans, the Green Book listed "tourist homes," with
the names of ordinary families who would house African American
travelers in a pinch. Thus the book helped readers carefully
plan their routes to avoid whites-only establishments. The level
of racism they might otherwise encounter is suggested by the advice
found on the cover of the book: "Carry your Green Book with you -- you
may need it."
With the introduction of this travel guide in 1936, it has been our idea to give the negro traveler information that will keep him from running into difficulties, embarrassments and to make his trips more enjoyable.
The Jewish press has long published information about places that are restricted and there are numerous publications that give the gentile whites all kinds of information. . . .
At the present time the guide contains 80 pages and lists numerous business places, including whites which cater to the Negro trade.
There are thousands of first class business places that we don't know about and can't list which would be glad to serve the traveler, but it is hard to secure listings of these places since we can't secure enough agents to send us the information. Each year before we go to press the new information is included in the new edition. . . .
There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States. It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication for then we can go wherever we please, and without embarrassment. But until that time comes we shall continue to publish this information for your convenience each year.
[Note: The following are all the listings for the nearby towns of French Lick, Jeffersonville, New Albany, and West Baden. There are no listings for Hanover or Madison.]
Thurman --- 222 Indianna Ava.
Charles Thomas --- 607 Missouri Ave.
Leonard Redd --- 711 Missouri Ave.
J.D. Clay -- 513 Pearl St.
West Baden Springs