The Green Book Johnson's Hotel
Backstory and Context
Information about the author
The author of the Green Book Traveler’s guide was Victor Hugo Green. He was born November 9th, 1892 in New York. He lived in Harlem and delivered mail in New jersey and retired in 1952. He was in the army as a supple company of the 350th field artillery 92nd division. He married Alma S. Duke in 1918 who was from Richmond, Virginia. Green opened a traveling company called, the Reservation Bureau, in the office on 135th street in Harlem above the small’s paradise, a music venue that was central to African American culture in the 20th century.
When Victor Green died on October 16th, 1960, his wife Alma took over as editor of the Green Book and continued to release update editions. After 30 years of the Green Book it quietly ceases publication in print in 1966 because of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Information about the Green Book
The first publishing of the Green Book Traveler’s Guide was written in 1936 by Victor Hugo Green. The book was originally called the “Negro Motorist Green Book” was covered in 15-pages that listed travel-related businesses in the New York area for African American people. Each edition on the book would add another state with hotels and restaurants for travelers to go. From the 1948 edition of the green book traveler’s guide introduction said “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 wherever we please, and without embarrassment.”
In 1936 Victor Green wanted to address the problem by producing “The Green Book Traveler’s Guide”. This Book was not only about locations of hotels and restaurants it also gave people information to use when on the road. For example, if something happens at night- “Carry at least three 15-minute fuzees in your car. If you stop at night by the roadside to change a tire- Light the fuzees, stick them on the ground about 100 feet away… their red glare means danger, avoiding the risk of collisions!”. The Book added advertisements for restaurant, hotels, car services, and shopping centers.
Green expanded by gathering field reports from fellow postal carriers and, offered cash payments to readers who sent in useful information. The Green Book also, helped many families with young children by protecting them and help them ward off those horrible points which they might have been thrown out and not permitted to sit somewhere. If there were any problems, people were told to report it to the back so they can change the book.
The Green Book was labeled as the “bible of black travel”. It wasn't the only traveling guide published for African Americans. There was the Hackley and Harrison’s Hotel and Apartment Guide for Colored Travelers (1930–31,) then the travel guide (1947-63), and the Grayson’s Guide: The Go Guide to Pleasant Motoring (1953–59) were contemporaries of the Green Book.
Andrews, Evan. “The Green Book: The Black Travelers' Guide to Jim Crow America.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 6 Feb. 2017, https://www.history.com/news/the-green-book-the-black-travelers-guide-to-jim-crow-america.
“Hackley & Harrison's Hotel and Apartment Guide for Colored Travelers.” NYPL Digital Collections, https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/173daf10-fc1f-0136-584e-3b945bc8b699.
Harford County Public Library, http://library.hcplonline.org/polaris/search/title.aspx?ctx=1.1033.0.0.1&pos=2&cn=2012966.
Book: Havre de Grace Harford County’s Rural Heritage by Jack Shagena Jr. and Henry Paden Jr.
“The Travelers' Green Book: 1960.” NYPL Digital Collections, https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/a7bf74e0-9427-0132-17bf-58d385a7b928#/?uuid=9e88fcf0-9428-0132-ce43-58d385a7bbd0.
Wallenfeldt, Jeff. “The Green Book.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 10 Oct. 2019, https://www.britannica.com/topic/The-Green-Book-travel-guide.
Havre de Grace Harford County's Rural Heritage