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The Negro Motorist Green Book

  • Location 50s/60s Gallery
  • Exhibit Dates Permanent

Although the roads and highways were free for all to use, doing so was not easy for people of color.

Decades after the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment ended slavery, African Americans continued to suffer unequal treatment, especially in the South. Jim Crow Laws discriminated against blacks in nearly every aspect of public life, including travel. Although the roads and highways were free for all to use, doing so was not easy for people of color. The Green Book, written by Victor Green, provided guidance for African American travelers to find safe locations to sleep, eat, shop and purchase gas. Locally, the guide was used by the Idelwild Chamber of Commerce in Michigan to assist black American travelers in the 1950s and 1960s.

2016 National Association of Automobile Museums Interpretive Exhibits Award-Winner / Sponsored by PNC Bank Foundation

Exhibit Sponsor: "The Negro Motorist's Green Book: Racial Discrimination and the Automobile in America"

The Gilmore Car Museum is proud to announce a partnership with the PNC Foundation that will offer an insightful and educational story that predates the Civil Rights era. Decades after the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment ended slavery, African Americans continued to suffer unequal treatment, especially in the South. The Jim Crow philosophy discriminated against blacks in nearly every aspect of public life, including travel. Although the roads and highways were free for all to use, doing so was not easy for blacks. The Green Book, written by Victor Green, provided guidance for African American travelers to find safe locations to sleep, eat, shop and purchase gas.

PNC (Kalamazoo, MI) PNC Financial Services Group operations include a regional banking franchise operating primarily in nineteen states and the District of Columbia with more than 2,700 branches, online and mobile services together with 8000 ATM machines, specialized financial businesses serving companies and government entities, and asset management and processing businesses.

Take A Peek Inside

A Taste of What You’ll See

Esso Gas Pump

Standard Oil, the company that owned Esso, was owned by John D. Rockefeller, Sr., who was America's first billionaire. Victor Green, who started the Green Book, was a mailman and couldn't afford to print a lot of copies until Standard Oil began assisting him. When Rockefeller got involved, the network of supporters spread through the ranks of Standard Oil throughout North America and Standard Oil was the only company which encouraged and sold dealer franchises to black Americans.

Esso close up

Green Book Spring 1956 Edition

On display and available for browsing is a copy of the 1956 Spring edition of the Green Book. Notable listings included Idlewild, Michigan. Idlewild was known as "The Black Eden" and was a safe haven for African Americans long before the publishing of the Green Book.

Green book4

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