The Negro Motorist Green Book was a series of annual guides for African-American drivers and holiday-makers who wanted to know where they could find gas-stations, restaurants and hotels that would serve them and which "sunset towns" they should avoid on pain of violence from corrupt, racist law-enforcement.
The Green Books have taken on a new cultural relevance; they play a central role in Matt Ruff's outstanding anti-racist Lovecraftian tale Lovecraft Country (which is being adapted by Jordan "Get Out" Peele for the small screen).
In late 2017, Jan Miles released the The Post Racial Negro Green Book, an unexpected bestseller that catalogs police killings, violence and harassment; businesses that racially profile black customers; and places where white people publicly abuse black people with impunity.
Miles created her Green Book as a way of coping with an onslaught of news about racist violence and discrimination; rather than being a passive observer of the news, she did something to process it (this is how I deal with the news, too — Boing Boing is both a public notebook and a personal way of reflecting on the news rather than letting it get on top of me).
She calls it "a snapshot of contemporary racism in America."
It's timely: the NAACP just released its first-ever travel advisories, warning black people to avoid both Mississippi and American Airlines.
"There was so much information coming at me that I felt like I was being inundated with these stories," Miles told me during a recent phone conversation, recalling for example the 2016 police shooting and killing of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, "I thought someone needs to be keeping track of it. So I self-appointed myself as the historian of this history. I wanted to create a record of what is going on."
Miles, who has a law degree and worked several years in New York City's publishing circles, wrote and self-published The Post-Racial Negro Green Book last year, meticulously documenting and fact-checking racist activities on a state-by-state basis between the years 2013 and 2016. Her hope is that the book will draw increased public attention and a level of sustained concern about the racist outrages that now flicker past Americans on Facebook or Twitter as rapid-fire news items, only to be replaced within days — or hours — by fresh calamities.
The Post-Racial Negro Green Book [Jan Miles/Brown Bird Books]
The return of The Negro Motorist Green Book [Sam Fullwood III/Thinkprogress]
(via Naked Capitalism)