The Negro Motorist Green Book
Cover of the 1940 edition
|Publisher||Victor H. Green|
The Negro Motorist Green Book (at times titled The Negro Traveler's Green Book) was an annual guidebook for African Americans, commonly referred to simply as the Green Book. It was published in the United States from 1936 to 1966, during the Jim Crow era, when discrimination against non-whites was widespread. Although pervasive racial discrimination and black poverty limited ownership of cars among African Americans, the emerging black middle class became car owners. Many blacks took to driving, in part to avoid segregation on public transportation. As the writer George Schuyler put it in 1930, "all Negroes who can do so purchase an automobile as soon as possible in order to be free of discomfort, discrimination, segregation and insult." Black Americans employed as salesmen, entertainers, and athletes also traveled frequently for work purposes.
African American travelers faced a variety of dangers and inconveniences, such as white-owned businesses refusing to serve them or repair their vehicles, being refused accommodation or food by white-owned hotels, and threats of physical violence and forcible expulsion from whites-only "sundown towns". New York mailman and travel agent Victor H. Green published The Negro Motorist Green Book to tackle such problems and "to give the Negro traveler information that will keep him from running into difficulties, embarrassments and to make his trip more enjoyable."
From a New York-focused first edition published in 1936, he expanded the work to cover much of North America including most of the United States and parts of Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean, including Bermuda. The Green Book became "the bible of black travel during Jim Crow", enabling black travelers to find lodgings, businesses, and gas stations that would serve them along the road. Outside the African American community, however, it was little known. Shortly after passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed the types of racial discrimination that had made the Green Book necessary, publication ceased and it fell into obscurity. Interest in it has revived in the early 21st century in connection with studies of black travel during the Jim Crow era.
Traveling while black: the African American travel experience
Until long after the Civil Rights era (1955–1968), black travelers in the United States faced major problems to which most whites were oblivious. White supremacists had long sought to restrict black mobility. As a result, simply undertaking an auto journey was fraught with difficulty for black people and it was potentially a dangerous undertaking. They were subjected to racial profiling by police departments ("Driving While Black"), faced being punished for being seen as "uppity" or "too prosperous" if they were driving a car (an act that many whites regarded as a white prerogative), and risked harassment or worse on or off the highway. In a bitter commentary published in 1947, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) magazine, The Crisis, highlighted the uphill struggle blacks faced in undertaking recreational travel:
Would a Negro like to pursue a little happiness at a theater, a beach, pool, hotel, restaurant, on a train, plane, or ship, a golf course, summer or winter resort? Would he like to stop overnight at a tourist camp while he motors about his native land 'Seeing America First'? Well, just let him try!
Such restrictions had their origins in the post-Civil War increase in black travel in the southern United States. After the end of slavery in the South, most freedmen continued to live at little more than a subsistence level, but a minority of African Americans gained a measure of prosperity. Leisure travel thus became a realistic prospect for thousands of blacks for the first time. Affluent blacks arranged large group excursions for as many as 2,000 people at a time, traveling by rail from New Orleans to resorts along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. In the pre-Jim Crow era this necessarily meant mingling with whites in hotels, transportation and leisure facilities. They were aided in this by the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which had made it illegal to discriminate against African Americans in public accommodations and public transportation.
However, the result was a white backlash. The Act was declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in 1883, resulting in a proliferation of segregation laws at state and local levels. White pressure on railroads to enforce such laws led to the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision, in which the Supreme Court declared racial segregation to be constitutional. Blacks found themselves facing restrictions and exclusion throughout the United States. If they were not barred entirely from facilities, they could only use them at different times from whites or in different places, such as segregated (and usually inferior) areas. Racial discrimination was not confined to the South but was pervasive across the United States, as K. A. Gbedemah, the finance minister of newly-independent Ghana, discovered in October 1957. He was refused service at a Howard Johnson's restaurant at Dover, Delaware while travelling to Washington, D.C., even after identifying himself to the restaurant staff. The snub caused an international incident, to which an embarrassed President Dwight D. Eisenhower responded by inviting Gbedemah to breakfast at the White House.
While discrimination was universal in the South, even in the North a patchwork of discrimination meant that middle-class blacks "were not at all sure how to behave or how whites would behave toward them", as Bart Landry puts it. In Cincinnati, Ohio, the African American newspaper editor Wendell Dabney wrote of the situation in the 1920s that "hotels, restaurants, eating and drinking places, almost universally are closed to all people in whom the least tincture of colored blood can be detected." There was not a single hotel or other accommodation open to blacks in Salt Lake City, Utah in the 1920s, leaving black travelers stranded if they found themselves there overnight. George Schuyler reported in 1943, "Many colored families have motored all across the United States without being able to secure overnight accommodations at a single tourist camp or hotel." He suggested that black Americans would find it easier to travel abroad than in their own country. In Chicago in 1945, St. Clair Drake and Horace A. Cayton reported that "the city's hotel managers, by general agreement, do not sanction the use of hotel facilities by Negroes, particularly sleeping accommodations." One incident reported by Drake and Cayton illustrated the discriminatory treatment meted out even to racially mixed groups:
Two colored schoolteachers and several white friends attended a luncheon at an exclusive coffee shop. The Negro women were allowed to sit down, but the waitress ignored them and served the white women. One of the colored women protested and was told that she could eat in the kitchen.
In 1917, the black writer W. E. B. Du Bois observed that the impact of "ever-recurring race discrimination" had made it so difficult to travel to any number of destinations, from popular resorts to major cities, that it was now "a puzzling query as to what to do with vacations". It was a problem that came to affect an increasing number of black people in the first decades of the 20th century. Tens of thousands of southern African Americans migrated from farms in the south to factories and domestic service in the north. No longer confined to living at a subsistance level, many now had enough disposable income and time to engage in leisure travel. The development of affordable mass-produced automobiles liberated black Americans from having to rely on "Jim Crow cars" – smoky, battered and uncomfortable railroad carriages which were the separate but decidedly unequal alternatives to more salubrious whites-only carriages. As one black magazine writer commented in 1933, in an automobile "it's mighty good to be the skipper for a change, and pilot our craft whither and where we will. We feel like Vikings. What if our craft is blunt of nose and limited of power and our sea is macademized; it's good for the spirit to just give the old railroad Jim Crow the laugh."
While automobiles made it much easier for black Americans to be independently mobile, the difficulties they faced in traveling were such that, as Lester B. Granger of the National Urban League puts it, "so far as travel is concerned, Negroes are America's last pioneers." Black travelers often had to carry buckets or portable toilets in the trunks of their cars because they were usually barred from bathrooms and rest areas in service stations and roadside stops. Travel essentials such as gasoline could be unavailable because of discrimination at gas stations. To avoid such problems on long trips, African Americans often packed meals and carried containers of gasoline in their cars. The civil rights leader John Lewis has recalled how his family prepared for a trip in 1951:
There would be no restaurant for us to stop at until we were well out of the South, so we took our restaurant right in the car with us.... Stopping for gas and to use the bathroom took careful planning. Uncle Otis had made this trip before, and he knew which places along the way offered 'colored' bathrooms and which were better just to pass on by. Our map was marked and our route was planned that way, by the distances between service stations where it would be safe for us to stop."
Finding accommodation was one of the greatest challenges faced by black travelers. Not only did many hotels, motels, and boarding houses refuse to serve black customers, but thousands of towns across the United States declared themselves "sundown towns" which all non-whites had to leave by sunset. Huge numbers of towns across the country were effectively off-limits to African Americans. By the end of the 1960s, there were at least 10,000 sundown towns across the U.S. – including large suburbs such as Glendale, California (population 60,000 at the time); Levittown, New York (80,000); and Warren, Michigan (180,000). Over half the incorporated communities in Illinois were sundown towns. The unofficial slogan of Anna, Illinois, which had violently expelled its African American population in 1909, was "Ain't No Niggers Allowed". Even in towns which did not exclude overnight stays by blacks, accommodations were often very limited. Only six percent of the more than 100 motels that lined U.S. Route 66 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, admitted black customers. Across the whole state of New Hampshire, only three motels served African Americans in 1956.
The problem of accommodation was a constant worry for black motorists. One observed in the early 1940s that while they felt free in the mornings, by the early afternoon a "small cloud" had appeared. By the late afternoon, "it casts a shadow of apprehension on our hearts and sours us a little. 'Where,' it asks us, 'will you stay tonight?'". They often had to spend hours in the evening trying to find somewhere to stay, sometimes resorting to sleeping in haylofts or in their own cars if they could not find anywhere. One alternative, if it was available, was to arrange in advance to sleep at the homes of black friends in towns or cities along their route. However, this meant detours and an abandonment of the spontaneity that for many was a key attraction of motoring.
While lack of accommodation was an inconvenience, the greatest physical risks that African American travelers faced were produced by the widely differing rules of segregation that existed from place to place. Activities that were accepted in one place could provoke violence a few miles down the road. Transgressing formal or unwritten racial codes, even inadvertently, could put travelers in considerable danger. Even driving etiquette was affected by racism; in the Mississippi Delta region, local custom prohibited blacks from overtaking whites, to avoid white-owned cars being covered in dust stirred up from the unpaved roads. Racist local laws, discriminatory social codes, segregated commercial facilities, racial profiling by police, and the existence of sundown towns made road journeys a minefield of constant uncertainty and risk. The dangers that African Americans faced when traveling were reflected in the anxiety expressed in their road trip narratives, which presented a very different outlook from those of their more utopian white counterparts. The black journalist Courtland Milloy recalls the menacing environment that he experienced during his childhood, in which "so many black travelers were just not making it to their destinations."
John A. Williams wrote in his 1965 book, This Is My Country Too, that he did not believe "white travelers have any idea of how much nerve and courage it requires for a Negro to drive coast to coast in America." He achieved it with "nerve, courage, and a great deal of luck," supplemented by "a rifle and shotgun, a road atlas, and Travelguide, a listing of places in America where Negroes can stay without being embarrassed, insulted, or worse." He noted that black drivers needed to be particularly cautious in the South, where they were advised to wear a chauffeur's cap or have one visible on the front seat and pretend they were delivering a car for a white person. Along the way, he had to endure a stream of "insults of clerks, bellboys, attendants, cops, and strangers in passing cars." There was a constant need to keep his mind on the danger he faced; as he was well aware, "[black] people have a way of disappearing on the road."
Even after the Jim Crow era had ended, "traveling while black" remained difficult. Eddy L. Harris's account of a 1988 motorcycle journey alongside the entire length of the Mississippi River describes how he was "glared at, threatened, turned away, called names, and made afraid."
Segregation meant that facilities for African American motorists were limited but they did exist, not least because entrepreneurs of both races realised that lucrative opportunities existed in marketing goods and services exclusively to black patrons. The challenge for travelers was to find such oases of acceptance in the middle of a desert of discrimination. To address this problem, African American writers produced a number of guides to provide advice on traveling. These included directories of which hotels, camps, road houses, and restaurants would serve African Americans.
The Negro Motorist Green Book was one of the best known. It was conceived in 1932 and first published in 1936 by Victor H. Green, a World War I veteran from New York City who worked as a postal carrier and travel agent. He said his aim was "to give the Negro traveler information that will keep him from running into difficulties, embarrassments and to make his trip more enjoyable." According to an editorial written by Novera C. Dashiell in the spring 1956 edition of the Green Book, "the idea crystallized when not only [Green] but several friends and acquaintances complained of the difficulties encountered; oftentimes painful embarrassments suffered which ruined a vacation or business trip."
Similar handbooks had been published for the Jewish-American community, which also faced widespread discrimination, though Jews were able to blend in more easily with the general population. Green commented in 1940 that the Green Book had given black Americans "something authentic to travel by and to make traveling better for the Negro." The Green Book was published locally in New York, but its popularity was such that from 1937 it was distributed nationally with input from Charles McDowell, a collaborator on Negro Affairs for the United States Travel Bureau, a government agency. Its motto, displayed on the front cover, was for black travelers to "carry your Green Book with you – You may need it". The 1949 edition also included a quote from Mark Twain: "Travel is fatal to prejudice", inverting Twain's original meaning; as Cotton Seiler puts it, "here it was the visited, rather than the visitors, who would find themselves enriched by the encounter."
The Green Book's principal aim was to provide accurate information on black-friendly accommodations to answer the constant question that faced black drivers: "Where will you spend the night?" As well as essential information on lodgings, service stations and garages, it also provided details of leisure facilities open to African Americans, including beauty salons, restaurants, nightclubs and country clubs. The listings focused on four main categories – hotels, motels, tourist homes (private residences, usually owned by African Americans, which provided accommodation to travelers), and restaurants. They were arranged by state and subdivided by city, giving the name and address of each business. For an extra payment, the listed businesses could have their listing displayed in bold type or to have a star next to it to denote that they were "recommended".
Many such establishments were run by and for African Americans and in some cases were named after prominent figures in African American history. In North Carolina, for instance, they included the Carver, Lincoln, and Booker T. Washington hotels, the Friendly City beauty parlor, the Black Beauty Tea Room, the New Progressive tailor shop, the Big Buster tavern, and the Blue Duck Inn. Each edition also included feature articles on travel and destinations, and included a listing of black resorts such as Idlewild, Michigan; Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts; and Belmar, New Jersey. Green asked his readers to provide information "on the Negro motoring conditions, scenic wonders in your travels, places visited of interest and short stories on one's motoring experience." He offered a reward of a dollar for each accepted account, which he increased to five dollars by 1941.
The Green Book attracted sponsorship from a number of businesses, including the African American newspapers Call and Post of Cleveland, Ohio, and the Louisville Leader of Louisville, Kentucky. Standard Oil (later Esso) was also a sponsor, owing to the efforts of James "Billboard" Jackson, a pioneering African American Esso sales representative. Esso's "race group", part of its marketing division, promoted the Green Book as enabling Esso's black customers to "go further with less anxiety". By contrast, Shell gas stations were known to refuse black customers. The 1949 edition included an Esso endorsement message that told readers: "As representatives of the Esso Standard Oil Co., we are pleased to recommend the Green Book for your travel convenience. Keep one on hand each year and when you are planning your trips, let Esso Touring Service supply you with maps and complete routings, and for real 'Happy Motoring' – use Esso Products and Esso Service wherever you find the Esso sign."
Although Green usually refrained from editorializing in the Green Book, he let his readers' letters speak for the influence of his guide. William Smith of Hackensack, New Jersey, described it as a "credit to the Negro Race" in a letter published in the 1938 edition. He commented:
It is a book badly needed among our Race since the advent of the motor age. Realizing the only way we knew where and how to reach our pleasure resorts was in a way of speaking, by word of mouth, until the publication of The Negro Motorist Green Book ... We earnestly believe that [it] will mean as much if not more to us as the A.A.A. means to the white race."
Earl Hutchinson Sr., the father of journalist Earl Ofari Hutchinson, wrote of a 1955 move from Chicago to California that "you literally didn't leave home without [the Green Book]." Ernest Green, one of the Little Rock Nine, used the Green Book to navigate the 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from Arkansas to Virginia in the 1950s and comments that "it was one of the survival tools of segregated life". According to the civil rights leader Julian Bond, recalling his parents' use of the Green Book, "it was a guidebook that told you not where the best places were to eat, but where there was any place." Bond comments:
You think about the things that most travelers take for granted, or most people today take for granted. If I go to New York City and want a hair cut, it's pretty easy for me to find a place where that can happen, but it wasn't easy then. White barbers would not cut black peoples' hair. White beauty parlors would not take black women as customers — hotels and so on, down the line. You needed the Green Book to tell you where you can go without having doors slammed in your face.
While the Green Book was intended to make life easier for those living under Jim Crow, its publisher looked forward to a time when such guidebooks would no longer be necessary. As Green wrote, "there will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States. It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication for then we can go as we please, and without embarrassment."
With new editions published annually from 1936 to 1940, the Green Book's publication was suspended during World War II and resumed in 1946. Its scope expanded greatly during its years of publication; from covering only the New York area in the first edition, it eventually covered most of the United States and parts of Canada (primarily Montreal), Mexico and Bermuda. Coverage was good in the eastern US and weak in plains states such as North Dakota. It eventually sold around 15,000 copies per year, distributed by mail order, by black-owned businesses and through Esso service stations, some of which – unusually for the oil industry at the time – were franchised to African-Americans. It originally sold for 25 cents, increasing to $1.25 by 1957. With the book's growing success, Green retired from the post office and hired a small publishing staff that operated from 200 West 135th Street in Harlem. He also established a vacation reservation service in 1947 to take advantage of the post-war boom in automobile travel. From ten pages in its first edition, by 1949 the Green Book had expanded to more than 80 pages including advertisements.
The 1951 Green Book told black-owned businesses to raise their standards as travelers were "no longer content to pay top prices for inferior accommodations and services." The quality of black-owned lodgings was coming under scrutiny, as many prosperous blacks found them to be second-rate compared to the white-owned lodgings from which they were excluded. In 1952 Green renamed the publication as The Negro Travelers Green Book, in recognition of its expansion to cover international destinations that would not have been reached by car. Although segregation was still in force, the wide circulation of the Green Book had attracted growing interest from white businesses in the potential of the black market. The 1955 edition noted: "A few years after its publication ... white business has also recognized its [The Green Book’s] value and it is now in use by the Esso Standard Oil Co., The American Automobile Assn. and its affiliate automobile clubs throughout the country, other automobile clubs, air lines, travel bureaus, travelers aid, libraries and thousands of subscribers."
By the start of the 1960s, the Green Book's market was beginning to erode; civil rights activism was having effects, even before the passage of legislation to prohibit racial segregation later in the decade. An increasing number of middle-class African Americans were beginning to question whether guides such as the Green Book were in fact accommodating Jim Crow by steering black travelers to segregated businesses, rather than pushing for equal access. Black-owned motels in remote locations off state highways found themselves losing out to a new generation of integrated interstate motels. The 1963 Green Book acknowledged that the activism of the civil rights movement had "widened the areas of public accommodations accessible to all," but it defended the continued listing of black-friendly businesses because "a family planning for a vacation hopes for one that is free of tensions and problems."
The 1966 edition was the last to be published after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made the guide effectively obsolete by outlawing racial discrimination in public accommodations. The last edition of the Green Book underwent significant changes that reflected the post-Civil Rights Act outlook. The title was changed to Traveler's Green Book: International Edition – no longer just for the Negro, or the motorist – as its publishers sought to widen its appeal. Although the content continued to proclaim its mission of highlighting leisure options for black travelers, the cover featured an affluent female white blonde water-skiing – a sign of how, as Michael Ra-Shon Hall puts it, "the Green Book ‘whitened’ its surface and internationalized its scope, while still remaining true to its founding mission to ensure the security of African American travellers both in the US and abroad."
Representation in other media
In the 2000s, academics, artists, curators, and writers exploring the history of African American travel in the United States during the Jim Crow era revived interest in the Green Book. The result was a number of projects, books and other works referring to the Green Book.
The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History included the Green Book in a 2003 exhibition, "America on the Move". In 2007, the book was featured in a traveling exhibition called Places of Refuge: The Dresser Trunk Project, organized by William Daryl Williams, the director of the School of Architecture and Interior Design at the University of Cincinnati. The exhibition drew on the Green Book to highlight artifacts and locations associated with travel by blacks during segregation, utilizing dresser trunks to reflect venues such as hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and a Negro league baseball park.
African American playwright Calvin Alexander Ramsey published a children's book, Ruth and the Green Book (2010), about a Chicago family's journey to Alabama in 1952, in which they use the Green Book as a guide. Ramsey also wrote a play, called The Green Book: A Play in Two Acts, which debuted in Atlanta in August 2011 after a staged reading at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington, DC in 2010. It centers on a tourist home in Jefferson, Missouri. A black military officer, his wife, and a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust spend the night in the home just before the civil rights activist W. E. B. Du Bois is scheduled to deliver a speech in town. The Jewish traveler comes to the home after being shocked to find that the hotel where he planned to stay has a "No Negroes Allowed" notice posted in its lobby – an allusion to the problems of discrimination that Jews and blacks both faced at the time. The play was highly successful, gaining an extension of several weeks beyond its planned closing date.
- Franz, p. 242
- Franz, p. 246
- Freedom du Lac, J. (September 12, 2010). "Guidebook that aided black travelers during segregation reveals vastly different D.C.". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
- Seiler, p. 88
- "Democracy Defined at Moscow". The Crisis. April 1947. p. 105.
- Foster, Mark S. (Spring 1999). "In the Face of "Jim Crow": Prosperous Blacks and Vacations, Travel and Outdoor Leisure, 1890–1945". The Journal of Negro History 84 (2): 130–49. JSTOR 2649043.
- Young Armstead, Myra B. (2005). "Revisiting Hotels and Other Lodgings: American Tourist Spaces through the Lens of Black Pleasure-Travelers, 1880–1950". The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts 25: 136–159. JSTOR 40007722.
- Seiler, p. 84
- DeCaro, p. 124
- Landry, p. 58
- Drake & Cayton, p. 107
- Seiler, p. 87
- Sugrue, Thomas J. "Driving While Black: The Car and Race Relations in Modern America". Automobile in American Life and Society. University of Michigan. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
- Wright, pp. 75–76
- Loewen, pp. 15–16
- Hinckley, p. 127
- Rugh, p. 77
- Trembanis, p. 49
- Kelly, Kate (January 6, 2014). "The Green Book: The First Travel Guide for African-Americans Dates to the 1930s". Huffington Post. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
- Seiler, p. 83
- Primeau, p. 117
- Goodavage, Maria (January 10, 2013). "‘Green Book’ Helped Keep African Americans Safe on the Road". PBS. Retrieved August 6, 2013.
- "'Green Book' Helped African-Americans Travel Safely". NPR. September 15, 2010. Retrieved August 6, 2013.
- Seiler, p. 90
- Seiler, p. 92
- Seiler, p. 91
- Powell, Lew (August 27, 2010). "Traveling while black: A Jim Crow survival guide". University of North Carolina Library. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
- Rugh, p. 78
- Rugh, p. 168
- Seiler, p. 89
- Lewis, p. 269
- Seiler, p. 94
- Lacey-Bordeaux, Emma; Drash, Wayne (February 25, 2011). "Travel guide helped African-Americans navigate tricky times". CNN. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
- McGee, Celia (August 22, 2010). "The Open Road Wasn't Quite Open to All". The New York Times. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- Landry, p. 57
- Towne, Douglas (July 2011). "African-American Travel Guide". Phoenix Magazine. p. 46.
- Rugh, p. 84
- Hall, Michael Ra-Shon (2014). "The negro traveller's guide to a Jim Crow South: negotiating racialized landscapes during a dark period in United States cultural history, 1936–1967". Postcolonial Studies 17 (3): 307–14. doi:10.1080/13688790.2014.987898.
- Ramsey, Calvin Alexander (2010). Ruth and the Green Book. Carolrhoda Book. ISBN 9780761352556.
- DeCaro, Louis A. (August 1997). On the Side of My People: A Religious Life of Malcolm X. NYU Press. ISBN 9780814718919.
- Drake, St. Clair; Cayton, Horace A. (1970). Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226162348.
- Franz, Kathleen (2011). ""African-Americans Take To The Open Road"". In Franz, Kathleen; Smulyan, Susan. Major Problems in American Popular Culture. Cengage Learning. ISBN 9781133417170.
- Hinckley, Jim (2012). The Route 66 Encyclopedia. Voyageur Press. ISBN 9780760340417.
- Landry, Bart (1988). The New Black Middle Class. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520908987.
- Lewis, Tom (2013). Divided Highways: Building the Interstate Highways, Transforming American Life. Cornell University Press. ISBN 9780801467820.
- Loewen, James W. (2006). "Sundown Towns". In Hartman, Chester W. Poverty & Race in America: The Emerging Agendas. Lexington Books. ISBN 9780739114193.
- Primeau, Ronald (1996). Romance of the Road: The Literature of the American Highway. Bowling Green State University Popular Press. ISBN 9780879726980.
- Rugh, Susan Sessions (2010). Are We There Yet?: The Golden Age of the American Family Vacation. University of Kansas Publications. ISBN 9780700617593.
- Seiler, Cotton (2012). "'So That We as a Race Might Have Something Authentic to Travel By': African-American Automobility and Cold-War Liberalism". In Slethaug, Gordon E.; Ford, Stacilee. Hit the Road, Jack: Essays on the Culture of the American Road. McGill-Queen's Press. ISBN 9780773540767.
- Trembanis, Sarah L. (July 11, 2014). The Set-Up Men: Race, Culture and Resistance in Black Baseball. McFarland. ISBN 9780786477968.
- Wright, Gavin (2013). Sharing the Prize. Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674076440.
- Monahan, Meagan K. (January 3, 2013). "The Green Book: A Representation of the Black Middle Class and Its Resistance to Jim Crow through Entrepreneurship and Respectability". Williamsburg, VA: The College of William & Mary.
- Online copies (over 20 issues) of the Green Book from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
- Google Map displaying the locations of over 1,500 places listed in the Spring 1956 Green Book, including a searchable index
- Alston, Wendell P. (1949). The Negro Motorist Green Book. (downloadable from Goodreads)