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.