Green Book Sites: Local History and Architecture

We’ve already learned about the importance of “The Negro Motorist Green Book” from our previous show. Here, historians Catherine Zipf and Susan Hellman discuss their project on the architecture of the sites found in the Green Book and what various efforts are being made to locate more Green Book sites and preserve them. Perhaps the best show we’ve ever done about local history! Episode 546.

Here’s the link to the Green Book Sites Project:


Buzzkill Bookshelf

Gretchen Sorin, Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights

Bloomberg • Best Nonfiction Books of 2020: “[A] tour de force.”

The basis of a major PBS documentary by Ric Burns, this “excellent history” (The New Yorker) reveals how the automobile fundamentally changed African American life.

Driving While Black demonstrates that the car―the ultimate symbol of independence and possibility―has always held particular importance for African Americans, allowing black families to evade the dangers presented by an entrenched racist society and to enjoy, in some measure, the freedom of the open road. Melding new archival research with her family’s story, Gretchen Sorin recovers a lost history, demonstrating how, when combined with black travel guides―including the famous Green Book―the automobile encouraged a new way of resisting oppression. 74 black-and-white illustrations

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