What is this piece of media?
A zine type of book first written and published by NYC mail carrier, Victor Hugo Green, in 1936. This book highlighted restaurants, lodgings, businesses and gas stations all over the country which had been determined to be safe for Black ppl. He continued to publish this into 1966 with the support of Black business owners and thinkers of the time. They heralded his work as 'the bible of Black travel during Jim Crow'.
Why is this piece of media important to you? What work are you doing presently that relates to the subject matter in this piece?
On the eve of my travel and the launch of what we are calling our Global Locals travel section, it feels auspicious to reflect on a document that promises you to 'Enjoy your vacation without humiliation'. As a United Kingdom passport holder, US resident, Black, -feminine of center/gender-nonconforming person I'm certain, as experience has shown me that my ways of being 'safe' differ from one locale to another. There's some under radar sliding that I will always be able to do, and for the most part, despite what seem to be my most socially normal ways of presenting, my own normal adds layers to every experience.
The work that I am doing with the PHL Assembled project, and in all of my classroom environments constantly demands that safety is first and foremost for everyone present. The learning of acceptable language and practice which affirms not just 1/2 ppl, but an entire group takes time to create and assimilate. This book highlights the language that Black ppl were innovating, and the ways they influenced the marketing strategies of popular culture. The ways they were naming the social implications of racism on individual and family mobility without name calling, nor discussing in this forum what other people were doing wrong is a spectacular show of bravery and determination.
Readers Digest and The New Yorker were other publications of that time, it must have felt wonderful to receive your copy of The Negro Motorist in the mail, or a letter from the editor or a host in a far away city confirming your stay in their accommodations. It begs I pay attention to the AirBNB model which largely mimics the model used by Black travelers. And reminds me of our nomadic past as agrarians, and 'following the North Star' and the safety of the Underground Railroad.