The Answer is “What is the Green Book?”

After the kerfuffle on Jeopardy the other day, many of us ran to Wikipedia, which reads in part:

“an annual guidebook for African American roadtrippers. It was originated and published by African American New York City mailman Victor Hugo Green from 1936 to 1966, during the era of Jim Crow laws, when open and often legally prescribed discrimination against African Americans especially and other non-whites was widespread.”

Interesting facts include:

  1. Green’s original source of black-friendly services were fellow Post Office employees. Later he paid readers for publishable tips.
  2. Black travelers faced discrimination in the North as well as the South. Originally, the book covered the New York City area but eventually covered most of the United States and Canada, and the Caribbean and Bermuda.
  3. Esso (now Exxon-Mobil)’s role in serving black travelers, selling franchise’s to Blacks, and promoting the Green Book.
  4. Toward the end its publication, activists accused Green of abetting Jim Crow regulations by highlighting workarounds.
  5. The death knell of Green Book was the Civil Rights Act of 1964, outlawing the discrimination which made Green Book necessary.

The Wikipedia article covers more than publication. Interesting reading.