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Black History Month

They Traveled with the Green Book

In 1936, a Harlem postal worker by the name of Victor Hugo Green published “The Negro Motorist Green Book,” a guide to help African Americans travel safely, and with dignity, during a dark chapter in American history when Jim Crow laws and segregation were in force.

For over three decades, the Green Book provided tips on Black-friendly hotels, restaurants, auto repair shops and other services so African American travelers could enjoy a road trip without fear of being turned away or worse, being on the receiving end of unjust and illegal harassment or violence.

To learn more, you can check out the Smithsonian’s Green Book website online. Access the Emmy-nominated documentary film, The Green Book: Guide to Freedom, through the

Smithsonian Channel.

See the Negro Motorist Green Book Exhibit

December 4, 2021 – February 27, 2022

California Museum, Sacramento (this tour may be impacted by COVID restrictions)

The exhibition includes film, photographs, art installations, interactives, oral histories from travelers and Green Book business owners as well as historical documents and artifacts from the Smithsonian and from Green Book sites. The exhibition was created by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in collaboration with the noted author, documentarian and photographer Candacy Taylor.

Watch the movie, Green Book, inspired by a true friendship that transcended race and class.

As the story unfolds, an Italian-American who works as a bouncer is hired by an accomplished Black pianist who is touring the Eastern seaboard to perform in concerts. They rely on the Green Book to travel safely from New York City to the Deep South.

The Green Book was a hallmark of resilience

led by African American sisters and brothers in this country’s history. Let’s hope we have learned from history and moved beyond the Green Book days for good.



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