Started in 1936 by Harlem postman Victor Green, The Negro Motorist Green Book was a guide published over three decades that helped African Americans travel the country safely, and with dignity, during a time of Jim Crow laws and segregation. The Green Book was also an indispensable resource for the era’s successful Black-owned businesses and rising African American middle class.
The Negro Motorist Green Book, an exhibition developed by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) in collaboration with award-winning author, photographer and cultural documentarian, Candacy Taylor, offers an immersive look at the reality of travel for African Americans in mid-century America and how the annual guide served as an indispensable resource for the nation’s rising African American middle class and evidence of a vibrant business class. The Negro Motorist Green Book is made possible through the support of Exxon Mobil Corporation.
Credit: [Four-young African American women standing beside a convertible automobile], ca. 1958. WANN Radio Station Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Many businesses near where Mosaic Templars Cultural Center sits today were included in The Green Book but so were sites from all across Arkansas. From El Dorado to Russellville, sites listed in The Green Book helped African Americans travel in safety and dignity despite Jim Crow laws and segregation. This map is courtesy of the Arkansas Historic Preserviation Program.