Beginning in 1936, Victor Hugo Green, a postal worker from New York, began publishing travel guides for African-Americans that let them know where to go and where not to go if they wanted to be able to buy gas, get a meal in a restaurant, sleep in a hotel room, or continue using oxygen.
These guides were published until the early ’60s. They are now in the public domain and you can peruse them here.
Of course, when Green began this enterprise in the 1930’s, at the height of Jim Crow, you could get assaulted, arrested or killed pretty much anywhere in this country for DWB – Driving While Black.
Well, thank goodness that’s all behind us now! Oh… wait…
In the age of reinvigorated, albeit unofficial (so far) Jim Crow, New Orleans-based attorney and writer Jan Miles has revived the Green Book. This one is less a travel guide and more an ongoing compendium of police murders and beatings, white privilege, aggressions both micro- and macro, and all the other delights of being a US citizen who is not white in the age of Pumpkin, our whitest president yet.
Although, come to think of it, a straight-up travel guide, akin to the original, might be needed. After all, so far in the past eight months, the NAACP has issued travel advisories for American Airlines. And Missouri. It’d be hilarious if it weren’s so the complete opposite of hilarious.
You can buy a copy of Miles’ guide here. If your immediate reaction to that idea was, “Well, I don’t have these problems,” then you do indeed need a copy as a possible antidote to your massive white privilege. Which you just helpfully defined.
Mine arrives Thursday.