Victor Hugo Green was born November 9, 1892. He was a Harlem, New York postal employee and civic leader and creator of an African American travel guide known as The Green Book. Green used his connections as a postal worker to identify hotels, restaurants, and other places that would do business with blacks. It was first published as The Negro Motorist Green Book and later as The Negro Travelers’ Green Book. The books were published from 1936 to 1964. He reviewed hotels and restaurants that did business with African Americans during the time of Jim Crow laws and racial segregation in the United States. 15,000 copies were printed each year.
In his introduction, Green wrote:
“There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal rights and privileges in the United States.” The Green Book was highly successful, especially as cars became more affordable and using them for long distance travel was becoming more common. Black drivers, however, had to navigate segregated accommodations, couldn’t join AAA, and were often the victims of racial profiling from police and others.
After passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Green ended publication. Green also died in 1964. Green Books are extremely rare to find these days. Click here to view a copy of Green Book published in 1949.