If you watched the Golden Globes last night, you saw that the movie Green Book won for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Interested in seeing an actual Green Book, which is the namesake of the movie? Then visit Special Collections to see our issue from 1953.
The Negro Motorist Green Book, which was later renamed The Negro Travelers’ Green Book and then Traveler’s Green Book, was first published in 1936 by Victor H. Green. Green created the publication for African-Americans during the time of Jim Crow laws. The guide listed addresses for establishments such as hotels, restaurants, barber shops, beauty parlors, night clubs, drug stores, and service stations, that welcomed African-Americans. As the introduction to the 1949 edition stated, “With the introduction of this travel guide in 1936, it has been our idea to give the Negro traveler information that will keep him from running into difficulties, embarrassments and to make his trips more enjoyable.”
The 1953 issue lists businesses in forty-seven states as well as Bermuda, Canada, and Mexico. The California section includes entries for establishments in seventeen cities throughout the state including ten in Sacramento.
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library has digitized versions of the Green Book which are available on their website.
Visit Special Collections, located on the first floor of Shields Library, during our Reading Room hours of 10-5 (Monday-Friday) to view the 1953 issue that we hold.