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The Green Book: African-American Travel in the Jim Crow Era
September 25 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pmFree
Under Jim Crow segregation laws, African-Americans were often met with discrimination and intimidation as they traveled across the United States. Victor Green, a black postal worker in New York, published the first Negro Motorist Green Book in 1936 as a guide to businesses that would serve African-American travelers; over the next 28 years, the annual publication helped scores of motorists find hotels, tourist homes, restaurants, barber shops, beauty parlors, service stations and taverns across the country.
Green wrote that the Green Book would not be necessary “when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges.” He died in 1960 and the last edition of the guide was published in 1966. By that time, the development of the national highway system had decreased the chances of discrimination against African-American motorists. The passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act made the Green Book and similar publications obsolete, just as Green had predicted.
Houstonians Toya and Reuben Levi organized the Green Book Project to document African-Americans’ experiences traveling across the U.S. under Jim Crow through photos, interviews and documentation of existing sites listed in the Green Book. The Levis will discuss the history and legacy of the Green Book, as well as some of the Houston locations listed in the guide through the years, in this illustrated lecture.
Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the program will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 25, at the historic DeLuxe Theater, 3303 Lyons Avenue. Free parking is available in the lot behind the theater as well as on the street.
Admission is free and open to the public; seating is limited. RSVP by Friday, September 21.
This event is part of the Bart Truxillo Program Series, which honors the memory of pioneer preservationist and Preservation Houston co-founder Bart Truxillo. The Bart Truxillo Program Series is made possible by the generous contributions of Preservation Houston’s members and friends.