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A Revival of the 'Green Book' for Black Travelers

The Post-Racial Negro Green Book questions whether it’s safe yet for black people to travel around America freely.
The Post-Racial Negro Green Book
The Post-Racial Negro Green BookJan Miles and Brown Bird Books

The streets of Sacramento, California, have erupted in protests ever since police there shot and killed Stephon Clark, an unarmed African American, on March 18. Last week, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry announced he would not be bringing state-level charges against the police officers who killed Alton Sterling two years ago. And in March, people of color living in Austin, Texas, found themselves living in a state of terror when a white man rigged bombs around the city, claiming the lives of two black people and injuring a Latino woman.

These tragic events, combined with the years of police violence preceding them that triggered uprisings in Ferguson and Baltimore, suggest that for many, cities across the U.S. might be unsafe to travel to if you aren’t white. This was a serious thing for African Americans to consider during the Jim Crow era, and it even inspired its own literary genre: the Green Books for black motorists and travelers. These were essentially travel guides for African Americans to navigate the racially hostile terrain of the South.