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The Mother Road – Route 66 – turns 100 in 2026

The Negro Motorist Green Book

When most people think of Route 66, they picture a smiling white family cruising down the open highway in their shiny convertible car. But for travelers of color, the experience could be a very different one.

"The Negro Motorist Green Book, popularly known as the Green Book, was a travel guide intended to help African American motorists avoid social obstacles prevalent during the period of racial segregation, commonly referred to as Jim Crow. The Green Book listed businesses that would accept African American customers.

The book was the vision of Victor Green, an African American US postal employee from Harlem, New York. 
These types of travel guides were necessary during the Jim Crow era because African Americans were subject to acts of discrimination and occasional intimidation, as many businesses refused to accept them as customers. African American motorists, for example, were warned to avoid sundown towns that required minorities to be outside the city limits before sundown, hence the name. African American travel could be fraught with risk, and guides like the Green Book were an essential resource.

The Green Book also provided a service that made lodging reservations for clients. The listings were verified annually to ensure accuracy.  In addition to business listings, the books included travel articles, driving tips, and essays highlighting locations of interest. A principal sponsor for the Green Book was the Esso Standard Oil Company, which distributed the books and solicited African American customers through them.

Green wrote that his book would not be necessary “when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges.” He died in 1960, and the last edition of his guide published in 1964. The 1956 creation of the national highway system diminished the need for these travel guides because highways minimized contact with local communities, decreasing chances for discrimination against African American motorists. Eventually, the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act made the Green Book and similar publications obsolete, just as Green predicted."

Author: 

Tunnell, H. (2014, July 29) The Negro Motorist Green Book (1936-1964).

Retrieved from https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/
negro-motorist-green-book-1936-1964/


View the New York Public Library digital collection of Green Books: https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/collections/the-green-book

Article prepared by David Dunlap, Route 66 IECA Board member


Click HERE to read this DAILY BULLETIN Article


In 1920 Snap-on Tools pioneered the idea of interchangeable sockets and wrench handles. The company manufactured and marketed ten sockets that would "snap on" to five interchangeable handles, a concept that revolutionized the tool industry. In the 20s, metal cabinets hung in local hardware stores that you would open and select the sockets and handles you wanted. In the 30s and 40s salesmen brought the product straight to the customer by way of a sedan or sedan delivery. Post war the industry saw the use of the first “walk-in” display van as a way to bring the product to the people, a practice that is still used to this day.

This is Domenic Valentino’s version of the 1951 International Metro - Snap-on Tools delivery van.

“I have been all Snap-on tools basically ever since I got out of the U.S. Navy. So when thinking about my next restoration I thought what could be better than to pay homage to the company that has allowed me to live the life that I've lived for over half my life. I found the truck in Lake Tahoe and it was being used as a sign for a carpet warehouse. Chained to a pedestal for the past 25 years so no one would steal it. After two years of help, a lot from my customers especially Paul Morton, we created a period-correct Snap-on Tools delivery van.”


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