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Overground Railroad: The Green Book & Roots of Black Travel in America

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Author: Candacy Taylor

A New York Times Notable Book of 2020

The first book to explore the historical role and residual impact of the Green Book, a travel guide for black motorists used for decades when traveling through segregated America.

Published from 1936 to 1966, the Green Book was hailed as the "black travel guide to America." At that time, it was both dangerous and difficult for African Americans to travel, because black travelers couldn't eat, sleep, or buy gas at most white-owned businesses.

The Green Book listed hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and other businesses that were safe for black travelers. It was a resourceful and innovative solution to a horrific problem.

Candacy Taylor writes in her introduction, "The Green Book was published during a time when car travel symbolized freedom in America, but since racial segregation was in full force throughout the country, the open road wasn't open to all. When black motorists picked up a copy of the Green Book, they were greeted by the words 'Just What You Have Been Looking For!! NOW WE CAN TRAVEL WITHOUT EMBARRASSMENT.'" Chapters in her book Overground Railroad include:
  • Driving While Black
  • The Business of the Green Book
  • Vacation
  • Music Venues
  • The Roots of Route 66
  • Women and the Green Book
  • And more!
It took courage to be listed in the Green Book, and Overground Railroad celebrates the stories of those who put their names in the book and stood up against segregation. It shows the history of the Green Book, how we arrived at our present historical moment, and how far we still have to go when it comes to race relations in America.

Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Published: 01/07/2020
Pages: 360
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 2.28lbs
Size: 9.60h x 6.50w x 1.70d
ISBN: 9781419738173

Review Citation(s):
Library Journal 12/13/2019 pg. 1

About the Author
Candacy Taylor is an award-winning author, photographer and cultural documentarian. Her work has been featured in over 50 media outlets including the New Yorker and The Atlantic. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships and grants including The Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She lives in New York, NY.

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