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‘Driving The Green Book’ With Alvin Hall

People drive under a highway overpass over the remains of Black Wall Street in the Greenwood District during Juneteenth celebrations in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
People drive under a highway overpass over the remains of Black Wall Street in the Greenwood District during Juneteenth celebrations in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

During the Jim Crow era, African American motorists couldn’t eat, rest or stop anywhere they wanted, due to the threats posed by racism. In the late 1930s, Victor Hugo Green, a Black postal worker, published a   directory of places for Black travelers to stop in the New York area. Further editions extended the guide’s geographic scope.

Hannah Giorgis wrote about it for The Atlantic in 2019:

The Green Book, as it is most often called, became an invaluable resource to black people living in, and traveling through, America. It cataloged black-owned businesses around the country, directing motorists to establishments that served a wide range of functions. Amid its pages—digitized now at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York—were listings for restaurants, hotels, vacation destinations, barber shops, gas stations, and more. By the early 1960s, it had reached  about 2 million people; toward the end of its run, it even included international listings.

Alvin Hall is the host of “Driving the Green Book,” a new podcast from MacMillan. The show details the stories of African Americans who used The   Green Book as a resource for protection and empowerment. 

We talk to him about the stories he features on the podcast and more.

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