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Old 02-11-2019, 01:21 PM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is online now
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The 'Negro Motorist Green Book' (1936-1967)

Wasn't surprised to find that something like this was published, but I previously had not known about them, never having been a 'negro', nor a motorist in that time frame. But I can see how this would have been a must-have, to know in advance where you had a better chance of being welcome.

This page/ has a number of the editions scanned in.
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:29 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is online now
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I've seen old copies on Ebay.

It was a valuable reference for black travelers during segregation. They had limited options for restaurants and hotels.

There were Sundown towns in parts of the South. It was understood that blacks could visit businesses during the day. But, couldn't be there at night. The Klan enforced that rigorously. A lot of small town police had Klan members in the 1930's.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sundown_town

Last edited by aceplace57; 02-11-2019 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:36 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is online now
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I'd assume the travelors guide listed the Sundown towns and warned to avoid them when traveling through at night.

I don't think gas stations were segregated? Pretty sure anyone could get a fill up.

My uncle and I used to visit a small black grocery store when I was a kid. It was close to his house and we never felt unwelcome. This was the late 1960's. We'd often be the only white customers in the store. I never gave it a second thought. It was just a nice store.

Last edited by aceplace57; 02-11-2019 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:41 PM
SpoilerVirgin SpoilerVirgin is offline
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I gained much of my understanding of what it was like for black travelers during the period of the Green Book from the well-researched and fascinating book The Warmth of Other Suns.

I highly recommend the book for its exploration of the Great Migration, a very significant but rarely discussed aspect of American history.

I also highly recommend the movie Green Book, which was my favorite movie of 2018.
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:33 PM
chappachula chappachula is offline
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I don't think gas stations were segregated? Pretty sure anyone could get a fill up.
Blacks could buy a fill up of gas, but they wouldn't be allowed to use the restroom or drink from the water fountain.
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:43 PM
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...I previously had not known about them, never having been a 'negro', nor a motorist in that time frame.
What time frame were you a 'negro' and a motorist?
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:57 PM
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What time frame were you a 'negro' and a motorist?
Pretty sure that the adjective phrase "in that time frame" only applies to the noun "motorist". Especially since the noun, "negro" was qualified by the phrase, "never having been a".
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:03 PM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is online now
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^^Yeah. . . kinda thought that strategically placed comma might have alleviated any confusion, but ya never know.
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:25 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is online now
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A lot of people don't realize segregation extended far beyond the Southern States.

Sammy Davis used to tell the story about being banned from the Vegas casinos and restaurants. Sammy could perform on stage, if he came in the back door.

Frank Sinatra got fed up and used his clout to end that crap. Frank insisted that Sammy could go anywhere Frank went.

I doubt Vegas changed policy. They just made an exception for Sammy Davis jr.

Last edited by aceplace57; 02-11-2019 at 04:28 PM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:04 PM
nightshadea nightshadea is offline
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vegas desegregated in the mid 60s rather peacefully due to not wanting widespread protests and public scrutiny of the casinos

of course when I watched something about it years ago t was implied that a bit of blackmail went on between the real owners of the casinos aka the mafia families and the naacp because people knew where bodies were buried and there were rumors of a numbers boycott in Harlem and Chicago...…. and frank apparently was the go between ….
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:40 PM
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I randomly looked at the 1947 edition and was not at all surprised (but still saddened) by the Oregon section. 'Safe' places here were nearly non-existent.
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:56 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
My uncle and I used to visit a small black grocery store when I was a kid. It was close to his house and we never felt unwelcome. This was the late 1960's. We'd often be the only white customers in the store. I never gave it a second thought. It was just a nice store.
Now, I wasn't around then, so I may be talking out of my ass, but as I understand it, the situation was never that a white person felt unwelcome in a black establishment, but that a black person was very much unwelcome in a white one. (And other whites would think a white person weird or worse for doing something like drinking from a water fountain labeled for black people.)
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:50 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is online now
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There was reverse racism in the late 60's. I ran into it a few times. Usually at school. There were a few students with chips on their shoulders.

I played sports and most of the team was black. I made a point to fit in the best I could. Made several life long friends and we still keep in touch.

Last edited by aceplace57; 02-11-2019 at 06:52 PM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:31 PM
StGermain StGermain is offline
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I've never seen the term "tourist home" before looking at these books. They seem to be run by women - I guess they were like rooming houses?

StG
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Old 02-11-2019, 09:25 PM
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I've never seen the term "tourist home" before looking at these books. They seem to be run by women - I guess they were like rooming houses?
My guess is that they were probably somewhere between rooming houses (which, as I understand it, usually had longer-term tenants) and modern-day bed-and-breakfasts.
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Old 02-12-2019, 10:00 AM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is online now
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I'm thinking about buying a copy of the guide.

It would be interesting to see the locations in my city. I realize none of the businesses still exist but a few original buildings may still be there.

Last edited by aceplace57; 02-12-2019 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 02-12-2019, 10:49 AM
StGermain StGermain is offline
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I'm thinking about buying a copy of the guide.

It would be interesting to see the locations in my city. I realize none of the businesses still exist but a few original buildings may still be there.
If you follow the link in the OP, you can see the books scanned in.

StG
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:00 AM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is online now
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I'll look up my city and see what they list.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:34 AM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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I randomly looked at the 1947 edition and was not at all surprised (but still saddened) by the Oregon section. 'Safe' places here were nearly non-existent.
I looked up Connecticut in the 1947 directory and also found very few places listed. But the amount of travel through Connecticut was probably very little. And I think the guy who edited the directory concentrated on the Southern states, so perhaps he wasn't as comprehensive about listings in the Northeast or Northwest?
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:08 PM
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I randomly looked at the 1947 edition and was not at all surprised (but still saddened) by the Oregon section. 'Safe' places here were nearly non-existent.
Could it be that 'safe' was the norm in Oregon and the listed places were guaranteed? I picked the 1962 edition at random (thank you for the link, Earl) and there were only a handful of listings for Los Angeles; surely there were more places than that in such a large city. I'm wondering if places paid to be listed.

I first heard of The Negro Motorist Green Book a few months ago when it was the featured article of the day on Wikipedia. This might have been about the time the movie was released. I have not yet seen the movie but a theater chain here is presenting a Best Pictures Film Fest where seven of the eight Oscar nominees, including The Green Book, are being presented.

Last edited by DesertDog; 02-12-2019 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:31 PM
ElvisL1ves ElvisL1ves is online now
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The book's slogan, a Mark Twain quote: "Travel is fatal to prejudice".

Well, maybe.
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:56 PM
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I looked up Connecticut in the 1947 directory and also found very few places listed. But the amount of travel through Connecticut was probably very little. And I think the guy who edited the directory concentrated on the Southern states, so perhaps he wasn't as comprehensive about listings in the Northeast or Northwest?
Mr. Green started in NYC, that being where he resided, and added more information as sent by readers. If there was more information on the South it's simply because more people wrote to him from there; logical when you think of population densities.
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Old 02-12-2019, 05:40 PM
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If this was mainly compiled by reports from readers and readers were primarily black, then the reason for few Oregon places is because there were relatively few blacks in Oregon at the time. Especially before WWII. At that time there were only about 2000 blacks in the entire state.

This not to say there was no racism in Oregon. There was tons of it. Still is in many parts of the state.
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Old 02-12-2019, 06:04 PM
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Could it be that 'safe' was the norm in Oregon and the listed places were guaranteed?
Definitely not. The state constitution specifically banned African Americans from even living in the state, let alone owning any sort of property. Hell, it didn't even ratify the 15th Amendment (letting blacks vote) till 1959. The same for the 14th (natural born citizen) till 1973. This article kind of goes over the legally ratified history of racism in Oregon.
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Old 02-12-2019, 06:09 PM
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Now, I wasn't around then, so I may be talking out of my ass, but as I understand it, the situation was never that a white person felt unwelcome in a black establishment, but that a black person was very much unwelcome in a white one. (And other whites would think a white person weird or worse for doing something like drinking from a water fountain labeled for black people.)
A while back, I read a self-published book by a white Midwestern man who contracted polio shortly before the vaccine came out in the early 1950s, and after he recovered from the disease itself, he and his father went to the center in Warm Springs, GA for further therapy. En route, they stopped at some place that had a public restroom and two black men in the facility were looking at them oddly; they assumed it was because of his wheelchair until they exited the restroom and saw the "COLORED" sign on the door. They hadn't noticed, nor would they have cared; all they saw was the "MEN" part of the sign.

Also a while back, we were talking about these books on another website, and one poster said that s/he wondered how many white people purchased them while traveling, so they would only patronize establishments where everyone was welcome.
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Old 02-12-2019, 06:11 PM
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Definitely not. The state constitution specifically banned African Americans from even living in the state, let alone owning any sort of property. Hell, it didn't even ratify the 15th Amendment (letting blacks vote) till 1959. The same for the 14th (natural born citizen) till 1973. This article kind of goes over the legally ratified history of racism in Oregon.
That's just incredible, and beyond disgusting.
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Old 02-12-2019, 06:28 PM
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Note that once a Constitutional amendment is ratified, it becomes the law in all states. States who hadn't ratified it yet often didn't bother to make the gesture.
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:39 AM
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Note that once a Constitutional amendment is ratified, it becomes the law in all states. States who hadn't ratified it yet often didn't bother to make the gesture.
According to the wiki article, seven states including Oregon specifically rejected the 15th amendment, some before ratification, some after. So they don't get off the hook.
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Old 02-13-2019, 05:29 PM
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I don't think gas stations were segregated? Pretty sure anyone could get a fill up.
Maybe not?
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Old 02-14-2019, 10:13 AM
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The book's slogan, a Mark Twain quote: "Travel is fatal to prejudice".

Well, maybe.
Yup. Plenty of good ol' boys who went overseas to fight in one or the other of the World Wars, and came back just as much bigoted assholes as ever.

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...one poster said that s/he wondered how many white people purchased them while traveling, so they would only patronize establishments where everyone was welcome.
One of Lee Harvey Oswald's few redeeming qualities was that he always defied segregation in New Orleans and purposefully sat in the back of the bus.

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Wow. I'm... glad I missed that episode.
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Old 02-14-2019, 10:20 AM
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I randomly looked at the 1947 edition and was not at all surprised (but still saddened) by the Oregon section. 'Safe' places here were nearly non-existent.
Yes, considering that Oregon was founded as a whites-only state, that's not surprising at all.
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:37 AM
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Esso stations were desegregated as a matter of corporate policy. They also sold the Green Book, allowing it to reach its targeted audience quickly.
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