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Would he like to stop overnight at a tourist camp while he motors about his native land 'Seeing America First'? Such restrictions dated back to colonial times, and were found throughout the United States.After the end of legal slavery in the North and later in the South after the Civil War, most freedmen continued to live at little more than a subsistence level, but a minority of African Americans gained a measure of prosperity. Well-to-do blacks arranged large group excursions for as many as 2000 people at a time, for instance traveling by rail from New Orleans to resorts along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
White governments in the South required even interstate railroads to enforce their segregation laws, despite national legislation requiring equal treatment of passengers. Ferguson (1896) that "separate but equal" accommodations were constitutional, but in practice, facilities for blacks were far from equal, generally being of lesser quality and underfunded. It was a problem that came to affect an increasing number of black people in the first decades of the 20th century.
The Negro Motorist Green Book (at times styled The Negro Motorist Green-Book or titled The Negro Travelers' Green Book) was an annual guidebook for African-American roadtrippers, commonly referred to simply as the Green Book.
It was originated and published by New York City mailman Victor Hugo Green from 1936 to 1966, during the era of Jim Crow laws, when open and often legally prescribed discrimination against non-whites was widespread.
Black travelers were stranded if they had to stop there overnight. Cayton reported that "the city's hotel managers, by general agreement, do not sanction the use of hotel facilities by Negroes, particularly sleeping accommodations." Two colored schoolteachers and several white friends attended a luncheon at an exclusive coffee shop.
George Schuyler reported in 1943, "Many colored families have motored all across the United States without being able to secure overnight accommodations at a single tourist camp or hotel." He suggested that black Americans would find it easier to travel abroad than in their own country. The Negro women were allowed to sit down, but the waitress ignored them and served the white women.
Prior to the legislative accomplishments of the Civil Rights Movement, black travelers in the United States faced major problems unknown to most whites.
White supremacists had long sought to restrict black mobility, and were uniformly hostile to black strangers.One of the colored women protested and was told that she could eat in the kitchen.While automobiles made it much easier for black Americans to be independently mobile, the difficulties they faced in traveling were such that, as Lester B.Shortly after passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed the types of racial discrimination that had made the Green Book necessary, publication ceased and it fell into obscurity.There has been a revived interest in it in the early 21st century in connection with studies of black travel during the Jim Crow era.Although pervasive racial discrimination and poverty limited black car ownership, the emerging African-American middle class bought automobiles as soon as they could, but faced a variety of dangers and inconveniences along the road, from refusal of food and lodging to arbitrary arrest.