|The Green Book|
"For African-American travelers in the Jim Crow-era South—often journeying from the north to visit relatives who had not joined the Great Migration—an unprepossessing paper-bound travel guide often amounted to a survival kit. The Green Book often functioned as a lifesaver," writes Kathleen Burke of the Smithsonian.
The recently released movie Green Book, which opened to much acclaim, depicts a historically relevant tale based on one family's recounting of a story that reconciles the racial divide between two very different people, people who ultimately recognize the common, race transcending humanity that ties them together. While the movie is worthy of its accolades, and offers an important view into America's history of racism, its references to the real Green Book provide scant insight into the book's importance as a once vital African-American travel guide for navigating the country safely. Even traveling with his white bodyguard, Don Shirley, the world renown classical and jazz pianist depicted in the movie, couldn't be guaranteed protection from the violent racist reality of the time. Deeper digging is required to discover the Green Book's true historical significance, and how it links to today's reality.
The Green Book's Black History, Brent Staples' opinion piece that recounts "lessons from the Jim Crow-era travel guide for African American elites," along with The Smithsonian and PBS stories listed below, documents the Green Book's importance and relevance in American history. They are well worth reading to gain another much needed view into the cruel and demeaning realities created and sustained by white America.