Driving the Green Book by Hall

Driving the Green Book by Hall

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Join award-winning broadcaster Alvin Hall on a journey through America’s haunted racial past, with the legendary Green Book as your guide.

“A tour-de-force blending exhaustive research, exquisite writing, and emotionally resonant visuals. The book is also a testament to Black resilience during the Jim Crow era, the strategic thinking that helped Black families not only endure but to prevail over tyrannical anti-Black laws, and the ingenuity that held Black communities together from east to west, north to south. This is a must-read.”—Bakari Sellers, New York Times bestselling author of My Vanishing Country

For countless Americans, the open road has been a place where dangers lurk. In the era of Jim Crow, Black travelers encountered locked doors, hostile police, and potentially violent encounters almost everywhere, in both the South and North. From 1936 to 1967, millions of people relied on The Negro Motorist Green Book, the definitive guide to businesses where they could safely rest, eat, or sleep.

Alvin Hall sets out to revisit the world of the Green Book and finds the people who had endured the dramatic challenges of that time. With his friend Janée Woods Weber, he journeys from New York to Detroit to New Orleans, visiting motels, restaurants, and stores where Black Americans once found a friendly welcome. They explore landmarks, from theaters and clubs where stars like Duke Ellington and Aretha Franklin performed to the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Along the way, Hall recalls his own experiences, and together they gather memories from some of the last living witnesses for whom the Green Book meant survival—remarkable people who not only endured but rose above the hate, building vibrant Black communities against incredible odds.

Driving the Green Book is a vital work of national history as well as a hopeful chronicle of Black resilience and resistance.