Spotlight

The Green Book Explored

It is so easy to jump on the internet before, during (!) and after a movie to get quick answers to the questions that come to mind. What was that last movie I saw that actor in? Who was the bouncer -- he looked so familiar? How old is Viggo Mortensen? These are the easy questions where IMDB is your go-to source. 

Green Book inspired some deeper questions as the best movies and books do.

General google searching will answer your most likely question, "Is the story true?" I was most curious about the Green Book itself, and the origin of the term Jim Crow.

Thanks to New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture we can all look at digitized copies of many editions of the Green Book from the 1930s to the 1960s. The books read like any travel guide. The tone is genteel with ads reminiscent of yellow page phone books.

My assumption was that the name "green book" was a take-off of the yellow pages.

In fact, the name comes from the publisher, Victor Hugo Green, who created this necessary directory for people of color who faced blatant racial discrimination.

The book is a matter of fact, pragmatic guide to help travelers respond to and avoid the indignities of traveling in the Jim Crow era.

Mr. Green introduces most books with a dignified acknowledgement of the times and the obstacles. 

Read one introduction written in 1950 here 

To round out my exploration of the movie, I researched the origin of the term Jim Crow. 

This insulting blackfaced character was created in 1830 by white performer Thomas Dartmouth Rice. The name has since been a catch all phrase for racial discrimination.

Diving deeper into the meaning of this often used term, Jim Crow, is illuminating. The University of South Florida library has a thorough digital exhibit explaining deeply and plotting the History of Minstrelsy

IMDB says the movie is 2 hours and ten minutes. I say you will be absorbed for much longer. 

Don Shirley

Don Shirley

Stream or download Don Shirley's original music from our Freegal music service.  

Image: Freegal

Ruth and the Green Book

Ruth and the Green Book

This picture book can be read instantly on our hoopladigital ebook service.

Image: hoopladigital

Green Book Chronicles

The Green Book Chronicles 

A documentary is in the making. The Green Book story is captivating and there are many personal stories to tell. 

The Green Book Project

Photographs of over 160 Green Book properties and an exploration of Route 66.

Image: Green Book

comments powered by Disqus