Civil Rights on the Road: How Black Travelers Brought About Civil Rights

After Reconstruction failed to secure racial equality, the Good Roads Movement and the mass production of the automobile offered African Americans the chance to improve their lives by allowing them to journey away from the South during the Great Migration.  As the automobile grew in popularity and affordability African Americans indulged in automobile ownership and the freedom that the open road promised.  Despite the oppression of African Americans during the Jim Crow Era, they traveled the nation’s roads in personally owned automobiles to improve their lives and for recreation.  African Americans also found professions that afforded them the opportunity to drive commercially and work within the automobile industry.  As Communism grew throughout the world it looked upon the United States during the height of the Cold War, and took note of the duplicity of segregation in a nation espousing freedom for all.  As time progressed the realization that separate cannot be equal made Jim Crow along the roadside a threat to democracy.  To help combat the Cold War threat, the federal government instituted the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that enforced the Reconstruction Amendments instituted during the Reconstruction Era. Whether traveling for business or recreation, overcoming the obstacles of segregation on the nation’s roads paved the way for a better understanding of race relations, promoted racial uplift ideologies, and lead to legislation that ended Jim Crow.

Post-Civil War Reconstruction failed to provide equality for newly freed slaves.  The efforts of Radical Republicans to extend civil and legal protections to African Americans by passing the Reconstruction Amendments to the United States Constitution continued to be thwarted by state governments throughout the South.[1]  In 1896, the case of Plessy v. Ferguson solidified the authority of state governments to implement de jure segregation by validating “separate but equal” and allowing states to provide segregated public accommodations and transit, provided that they were equal to their white-only counterparts.[2]  Similar laws designed to oppress blacks spread throughout the South, commonly referred to as Jim Crow Laws for decades to come.

Reconstruction ended without securing equality for blacks; however, infrastructure continued to improve as The Good Roads Movement grew in popularity alongside and after Reconstruction.  Initially started by groups of white bicyclists, The Good Roads Movement coincided with the end of Reconstruction in the 1870s with more than 2.5 million bicycle riders in its echelons at the height of the movement in the 1890s.[3]  The movement grew quickly into a national agenda, under the pretext of economic and social progress. Scribner’s Magazine argued that “progress in civilization is just as certain to bring better roads as railroads did in first opening up our country.”[4]  As a result of public pressure, local governments increased funding on rural roads throughout the United States during the first twenty years of the 20th century.[5]  By 1920, total expenditures on roads and bridges were nearly equal to the amount local governments spent on public education.[6]  Increases in automobile ownership helped the group of bicyclists by adding motorists to the roster of the movement.[7]  Economically, road development had a positive impact on small towns and a negative impact in large cities.[8]  However, the results of improved roads resulted in profound effects on African Americans and the nation as a whole, thanks to the development of the automobile.

Initially, automobiles were a luxury item afforded only to the wealthy.  Karl Benz invented the gasoline powered automobile in 1886.[9]  It was Henry Ford’s idea to build automobiles using an assembly line however that made the technology accessible to a larger market in 1908.  Henry Ford’s assembly-line manufacturing process made the Model-T the first car to be affordable for most Americans; not just the wealthy.[10]  The middle-class demand for automobiles became insatiable.  According to an early twentieth century publication, by 1911 manufacturers built over 13,000 trucks and by 1913 production of automobiles exceeded 36,000; which equated to 6,000 more than the entire history of the industry by the date of the publication.[11]  The growth of The Good Roads Movement thanks in part to the growing automobile trend, and the ability to travel on those roads for great distances in affordable cars, created an opportunity for African Americans to seek a better life in the North and West during The Great Migration.  While good roads and affordable cars served as the ingredients for The Great Migration, World War I served as the catalyst to begin the movement.

The Great Migration reshaped the demographic map of America between 1915 and 1960, as roughly five million Southern blacks immigrated North and West to escape the economic oppression of the South.[12]  Southern blacks typically migrated to major industrial cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and New York.[13]  Many locations that African Americans migrated to offered industry specific to automobiles or were expanding to meet the demands of the automobile industry.  The demand for workers proved voracious, as many of the men previously employed by these industries had gone away to fight in World War I.[14]  At its peak in the 1920s, The Great Migration saw tens of thousands of rural Southern blacks move into heavy industrial cities and fill the labor void.[15]

Contributors of The Great Migration found much of their work in the Northern automotive industries.  It was typical for black workers to receive subpar treatment and pay as tenant farmers and sharecroppers in the South; however, the automotive industry of the North tended to treat their employees with a greater measure of fairness thanks in large part to unions.   In 1937, The Wyandotte Echo of Kansas City wrote about allegations of segregation within the CIO (now known as the AFL-CIO or American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations) and rumors that the union separated black union members into segregated locals.[16]  The president of the union claimed that the allegations were false and that the union fought for all union member’s rights equally, regardless of race.[17]

Union labor appeared to be securing equality in the workplace; however, workplace equality was atypical outside of union run industries.  While Southern states practiced the de jure segregation policies of Jim Crow, Northern states implemented their own brand of de facto racism.  Cars did eliminate the need for African American car owners to rely on segregated public transit, but they did not eliminate the segregation found along the roadside itself.  Regardless of where African Americans lived and worked, discrimination remained a common problem.  Private businesses often denied African Americans services and accommodations in cities and along the roadside.  As the black middle class continued to grow in the North, African American entrepreneurs filled the void of much needed services and accommodations.  Segregation in the private sector helped grow black urban communities by providing an opportunity to meet the needs of the black community with a broad variety of businesses that were willing to serve African Americans.[18]  The very intolerance that oppressed the growing black communities appeared to benefit them economically speaking, by providing a large consumer base for businesses to meet the demands of those that could not receive services by similar businesses that already existed in the area; often resulting in a profit loss for businesses that chose to uphold segregation along the roadside.

The shifting demographics that resulted from The Great Migration raised concerns throughout the entire nation.  The United States Department of Labor: Division of Negro Economics studied the effects of the migration from 1916 to 1917.  The study concluded that the outdated ideology of the South was catching up to the region, as fleeing black families were depleting the agricultural labor force of the South citing an “exciting consternation… among employers who feared a loss of crops from lack of customary labor.”[19]  The Department of Labor study also found that concerns were rising among citizens of the North regarding potential competition for work opportunities and subsequent depression of wages from the resulting dilution of local labor pools in non-segregatory work places.[20]  The study determined that the problems that were arising from The Great Migration were exacerbated by those that had already migrated North, acting as “apostles of exodus to those remaining [in the South].”[21]  The study concluded that the nation’s progress depended on equal opportunities for all classes and races, indicating that the federal government already began noticing the problems caused by Jim Crow more than forty years prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.[22]

The demographic shifts during The Great Migration proved problematic to the national status quo; however, the exodus was not a coordinated effort of the Southern African American community.  The African Americans that contributed to The Great Migration did so not in a collective effort to further a civil rights agenda, but as individuals supporting their own unique interests and seeking better opportunities elsewhere.  Despite the individualistic intentions of The Great Migration, the African American Community benefited by improving their demographic’s social and economic status.  The social and economic status of African Americans was improving.  However, the struggle for middle class status was more challenging for African Americans when compared to their white counterparts; primarily due to differences in income and education.[23]  Union labor in automotive and other industrial settings was narrowing the gap between black and white middle class status as was venturing into business for themselves, but the fair pay and treatment the unions secured were not typical throughout the rest of the nation.   Though the African American community was improving in an economic sense, thrift was still an important factor in their lives; differences in income required frugality.

Although the pay gap between white and black middle-class was narrowing, African Americans still struggled with lower wages as the gap continued to close.  Earning lower wages than whites did not stop African Americans from participating in the growing trend of car ownership.  Mass production of automobiles, coupled with the opportunity for better working conditions in Northern automotive industries were improving African American economic conditions. The economic boom that followed World War I and a growing used car market facilitated an ability for blacks to participate in automobile consumption while socio-economic conditions continued to improve.

African Americans used numerous methods for obtaining, and keeping automobiles; they also used innovative techniques to get automobiles into the hands of the African American people.  Purchasing used cars proved to be a viable method of obtaining an automobile, as they were cheaper than new cars and therefore more affordable to middle class African Americans.  Advertisements for used automobiles began to spring up in black newspapers. The California Eagle shows the growing trend of used car ownership in 1924, dedicating an entire page to the “automotive section;” most of which helped the reader find a reputable place to purchase a used car or provide tips on how to repair and maintain the automobile the reader may have already owned.[24]  African Americans purchased more automobiles during the post-World War I economic boom than they did prior, partly due to the growth of the used car market.[25]  Automobiles were proving so appealing to African Americans that they were used to lure potential employees.  The 1916 edition of The Crisis (a publication of the NAACP) posted an advertisement seeking employees to sell portable bathtubs, offering sixty dollars a week and a free automobile to any man willing to take the job.[26] Automobile ownership became a priority for African Americans during the rise of American consumerism that proceeded the first World War.

African Americans were quickly finding their way on the public roads and highways as automobiles became more accessible throughout the nation.  For the African American community cars represented more than the freedom of the open road, wind in your face lifestyle.  Automobility represented achievement, prosperity, and a measure of racial uplift and equality.  Participation in consumerism and automobile ownership expressed the uniqueness of blacks as individuals and could convey the value of the African American community to the nation.

The emergence of a growing black middle class with enough economic stability to purchase an automobile served as a representation of the economic diversity of African Americans.  The ownership and use of automobiles by African Americans served as an undeniable visual representation of the variations in black humanity.  The author Kevin Gaines asserts that racial uplift ideals were a form of cultural politics that African Americans hoped white people would use to recognize the humanity of middle class blacks.[27]  In Technology and the African American Experience the author states, “the concept of ‘race’ progress in the early twentieth century focused on education and community action, but the ideology of uplift also had a material component, a cultural aesthetic that used material goods and, especially, the new technology of the automobile to demonstrate the achievement of the middle-class lifestyle.”[28]

The automobile and its implications became a symbol of success to African American car owners.  Robert Russa Moton stated “If motor cars are an index of prosperity there is significance in the fact that in every city of any considerable size Negroes are to be found in possession of some of the finest cars made in America.”[29]  Automobile ownership represented a greater sense of equality to African Americans as it was a physical symbol of their participation in the nation’s growing consumerism.  Purchasing a car equated to participating in consumer capitalism, which was the spirit of American culture.[30]  Automobility is an essential practice for all people in the modern world, and African Americans affirmed their public identity through their automobility.[31]  Travel on the road also provided physical evidence that economic tides were shifting for African Americans.  Automobility offered the growing black middle class the prospect for greater spatial and social equality.[32]

Automobiles served as tools for racial uplift ideologies and symbols of success for the black community; however, for the individual automobiles served the more practical purposes of convenience for work or leisure travel and an opportunity to escape the misery of Jim Crow.  Gretchen Sullivan-Sorin of the State University of New York at Albany claims, “African Americans in particular embraced their automobiles because every aspect of travel in the era of Jim Crow was circumscribed by race and cars allowed them to avoid the segregation of the Jim Crow railroad car and bus”[33] The contributing author of The Champion, Melnotte C. Wade alluded to the burden of rail travel in an article titled “That Auto of Mine” in 1917 stating, “I must confess that it had long been the height of my ambition to travel some other way than by train or the monotonous jog-jog behind old Dobbins…I could see myself lolling back in a car of my own while mile upon mile of the smoothest roads slipped by.”[34] A study of landlord-tenant relations in 1936 concluded that:

An additional reason why the automobile is so popular with Negroes, even among those who have achieved relative economic independence, is that it affords them an escape from the irritations of the unequal transportational facilities provided by train and bus and plane.  The Negro driving his own automobile is not so constantly reminded of the meaning of his color.[35]


The aspirations of racial equality, the reality and perceptions of racial uplift, and the convenience of the automobile, made the automobile a hot-ticket item for African Americans at the height of American consumerism.

African Americans also saw automobiles as an opportunity for business outside of merely manufacturing them.  New legislation started to form that increased African American opportunities for employment that involved automobile use.  The Crisis reported a story in 1917 about an agreement between the white churches of Miami and the colored Board of Trade that allowed blacks to drive their own cars as well as buses for hire, provided they only accepted black patronage.[36] Benjamin J. Thomas, former state examiner and proprietor of the Broadway Auto School stated, “the automobile has been a special blessing to the Negro, for the Negro is getting better wages and doing more business in the automobile industry than any other industry in the world.”[37]  Segregation along the roadside offered employment opportunities to African Americans, paradoxically.  The Negro Motorist Green Book (a yearly publication listing places African Americans could visit that would not discriminate against them) continued to expand African American employment by offering commission jobs to its readers to work part or full time selling subscriptions of the Green Book to friends, neighbors, and family.[38]

Not only did automobiles allow African Americans to fill the void of a wide variety of industry, African Americans began creating vacation resorts that they could travel to, that added to the roster of black roadside enterprise as well.  African Americans escaped the monotony of work like their white counterparts and attempted to free themselves from a segregated world for a time by going on vacations to non-segregated resorts.  African Americans created a multitude of vacation spots that mirrored segregated vacation areas around the turn of the century.[39]  The Negro Motorist Green Book contains listings of vacation sites in advertisements and stories throughout every edition.  The California Eagle ran an article over the course of a month in June of 1924 titled “Where will you spend your Vacation” that provided the reader with variety of places to visit based on cost and interest that accepted black vacationers.[40]

Black vacation destinations like Bay Shore Beach and Resort in Virginia drew visitors from all across the nation on summer weekends according to the author Ronald Stephens.[41]  By 1930, the resort had become so popular that it rivaled the whites only Buckroe Beach Amusement Park next door, that was separated only by a fence between the two properties.[42]  Bay Shore became a routine stop for famous musicians like Cab Calloway and James Brown; it was so popular, white patrons of Buckroe Beach climbed the fence to see the show.[43]  Other segregated resorts sought a more elite class of African Americans.  Idlewild of Michigan sought more prominent African Americans for patronage to their resort in the Midwest.[44]  Visitors of Idlewild referred to the resort as an “exclusive, high-class colored summer resort,” offering many outdoor activities like fishing, tennis, and golf.[45]  W.E.B. DuBois was among the celebrity endorsers for Idlewild, exclaiming

For sheer physical beauty—for sheen of water and golden air, for nobleness of tree and flower of shrub, for shining river and song of bird and the low, moving whisper of sun, moon and star, it is the beautifulest [sic] stretch I have seen for twenty years.[46]


Vacation resorts served as a place for African Americans to relax and enjoy themselves away from Jim Crow, while also serving the economic diversity of black individuals and families.

Although African Americans believed that automobiles could free them from the shackles of Jim Crow, they soon realized that this was not entirely the case.  Driving on public roads generated hostilities from whites.  The highway seemed to be an escape from racism to African Americans, yet it was because the road appeared to be outside racism that so many white observers were suspicious of black drivers.[47]  Kathleen Franz states, “members of the black middle class purchased [automobiles] and sought the freedom of movement it promised, [which] created a new site of racial contestation in the United States.”[48]  The travel between an African American home and a destination often proved humiliating, difficult and dangerous.  Depictions of African American drivers as being incompetent persisted in white press and media.[49]  Finding themselves in the wrong neighborhood after sunset also proved extremely dangerous.  African American drivers regularly had auto trouble on the road, as did white people; however, finding a mechanic or gas station to assist in repair often proved more difficult for African Americans.  Finding suitable lodgings, places to eat, vacation spots, or other various accommodations also proved difficult for black drivers.  Despite the perception of freedom that the car represented, African Americans often found that perception was not always reality.

Portrayals of African Americans on the road hindered racial uplift by ignoring the differences of African Americans as unique individuals and strengthened notions of white dominance.  Segregation along the road and the depictions of African Americans as technologically incompetent strengthened the belief of white superiority as African Americans experienced improvements in economic status.[50]  Negative media portrayals befell average and celebrity African Americans alike, indicating that economic status was not essential to the African American narrative in white media and press.  Jack Johnson, a famous (and wealthy) African American boxer in the early 1900s, was also known for his automobile enthusiasm.[51]  Johnson posed an open-ended prize of $5,000 dollars to any of the top three auto racers of 1910 that were willing to compete against him in an automobile race.[52]  Only Barney Oldfield, a white man, took the bet and defeated Johnson.  The white press attributed Johnson’s loss only to being a “poor driver.”[53]  A survey conducted in Georgia found that most of the white citizens interviewed felt that blacks were “irredeemably inferior.”[54]  One white man claimed in the survey that African Americans should have their cars taken away, or that the county should maintain two systems of roads, one for white people and one for African Americans.[55]

Traveling on America’s roads were not only at times demeaning, it could also be extremely dangerous.  James Lowen provides an example of the sundown town Anna, Illinois that continued to exist as late as 2001.  Anna, Illinois is just one of many examples of towns commonly called sundown towns, sunset towns, or gray towns.[56]  Anna and other sundown towns owed their moniker to signs that used to be posted at their corporate limits that warned black travelers that they had better not be caught in that town after sunset.[57]  During an interview with Lowen one of the citizens of Anna claimed that the name of the city was an acronym, for “Ain’t No Niggers Allowed.”[58]  Lowen provided a dark history of Anna in his book Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism claiming that in 1909 the town participated in a “spectacle lynching… expelled their African Americans… [and] have been all-white ever since.”[59]  Sundown towns continue to exist today; some of these towns include Towns County Georgia, Deer Park Washington, Marion Ohio, Ironwood Michigan, and Norman Oklahoma.[60]  Sundown towns were often easy to spot for black travelers due to their racist signage posted at their corporate limits.  However, sometimes traveling through them was unavoidable and the possibility of automobile trouble in such an area could have deadly results.

Unfortunately, in the 1949 edition of The Negro Motorist Green Book Wendell P. Alston (Special Representative, Esso Standard Oil Company) claimed that the problems of segregation were getting worse.[61]  It was often difficult to find reasonable accommodations in more tolerant towns along the roadside.  To improve convenience and safety for the African American driver, African American businesses published travel books.  Travel books served as a directory for black travelers that provided listings of various businesses that served them, while also providing tips for the road (such as basic automotive repair tips, and places to avoid).  One of the most famous travel guides was The Negro Motorist Green Book (colloquially referred to as The Green Book); however, it was not the first travel guide ever published.  Hackley & Harrison’s Hotel and Apartment Guide for Colored Travelers (for ‘cultured travelers and tourists’), The Travelguide, and Grayson’s Travel and Business Guide serve as just a few examples as The Green Books’ predecessors.[62]  Though not the first travel guide for black travelers, The Green Book was perhaps the most famous travel guide that existed during the Jim Crow Era.

Victor Green, a postal worker from Harlem New York and Civil Rights activist, created The Negro Motorist Green Book.[63]  Introduced in 1936, The Green Book provided roadside advice to “keep [black travelers] from running into difficulties, embarrassments and to make… trips more enjoyable,” according to a passage of the 1949 edition.[64]  The Green Book published yearly editions from 1936 until the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 rendered The Green Book obsolete.  As The Green Book grew in popularity, so did its coverage of locations that welcomed black travelers.  At its peak, The Green Book listed establishments across the United States and parts of North America.[65]  By 1947 the cover of The Green Book reminded the reader to “carry your Green Book with you—you may need it.” [66]

African American motorists relied on The Green Book to provide listings of a broad variety of services, accommodations, and driving tips to help black travelers.  By the 1957 edition the cover bore the subtitle of “assured protection for the Negro Traveler.”[67]  Often travel guides used subtle wording for its readers, when referring to segregation and prejudice.  Professor Paul Mullins claims, “The Green Book is a fascinating guide to black space, but it is perhaps equally compelling for its illumination of hidden codes and un-avowed privileges that remain largely unexamined today.”[68]  Travelguide emblazoned “Vacation & Recreation without Humiliation” on its cover.[69]  The 1955 edition of The Green Book posed a letter from the creator (Victor H. Green) himself, that states “these guides have made traveling more popular and without running into embarrassing situations.”[70]  The foreword of the 1956 edition of the Green Book also referred to the problems of Jim Crow as “embarrassing situations.”[71]  The New York Times best-selling author Maria Goodavage asserts, “inconveniences… embarrassments… they abounded, to be sure, but [The Green Book] tended not to directly allude to the genuine dangers faced by black travelers in certain areas.”[72]  Code words for the dangers of segregation are found all throughout the travel books.  Travel books like The Negro Motorist Green Book not only made travel more convenient for African Americans, it made travel safer as well.

Good roads and automobiles aided African Americans in a variety of ways; allowing them to move in search for better lives, find employment in automotive industries, and express their individuality and worth to the nation while traveling along the roadside.  Despite the many benefits that the automobile produced for African Americans, they were not enough to negate the inequalities and dangers that blacks experienced on the roadside during the Jim Crow Era.  Separate but equal policies and the right of white private industry to deny accommodations and services along the roadside became a national security threat as the height of the Cold War approached.  In her book, Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy, Mary Dudziak explains that between the post-World War years until the 1960s race issues had a critical impact on United States prestige throughout the rest of the world.[73]  The Soviet powers of the world used race problems in America to manipulate the Cold War narrative, while the United States struggled to contain the issue within its borders.[74]

Dudziak states that “the government’s inability to control the story [of race issues in the United States] forced American leaders to promote stronger civil rights reform.”[75]  The author Cotten Seiler concurs with Dudziak stating, “racial attitudes and policies shifted… [from] 1967 to 1957, as World War II and the Cold War made the national doctrine of white supremacy a global political liability.”[76]  All too often the race issues that the United States attempted to hide from the world occurred along the roadside, as “embarrassing situations” were not entirely avoidable.  To improve the United States’ image, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law in 1964.  Title two of the act stated:

All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation… without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.[77]


The statute made clear that this included “any inn, hotel, motel, or other establishment which provides lodging…any restaurant…or any…facility…selling food for consumption,” and any other business in America that sought patronage along the roadside.[78]  The Civil Rights Act changed the idea that private industry could operate as the owner saw fit by declaring that any facility that intends to serve the public is an “accommodation within the meaning…if its operations affect commerce.”[79]

During the Great Migration, black road travelers suffered intense discrimination while journeying to improve their lives or to find recreation or relaxation.  Attempts to sidestep persisting discrimination led black road travelers to overcome many of the obstacles of segregation and increased the success of the African American family from an economic standpoint, by gaining employment in multiple facets of the automobile industry and filling the void of services and accommodations denied to them in cities and along the roadside.  However, the economic and global pressures that resulted when the world noticed the hardships of African Americans traveling during The Great Migration period, and the successful entrepreneurship of African Americans that grew from that struggle, helped give rise to a new Civil Rights Act in 1964 when the United States could no longer contain the race issue narrative playing out within its borders.  The need to repair its image abroad led to legislation from the United States government that finally enforced the Reconstruction Amendments of the United States Constitution and end Jim Crow.

[1] United States Senate, “U.S. Senate: Landmark Legislation: Thirteenth, Fourteenth, & Fifteenth Amendments,” Art & History, accessed May 4, 2017.


[2] Our Documents, “Plessy v. Ferguson (1896),” accessed March 30, 2017.


[3] Bachmann, “The ‘Good Roads’ Movement,” The Shelf: Preserving Harvard’s Library Collections (Blog), accessed May 4, 2017.


[4] Henry Joy, “Transcontinental Trails,” Scribner’s Magazine, 1914, 161.


[5] Jason Lee, “An Economic Analysis of the Good Roads Movement in the 20th Century,” Research Report (Davis, California: University of California, Davis: Department of Economics, September 2012).

[6] Ibid.


[7] Encyclopedia Britannica, s.v. “Good Roads Movement.”


[8] Lee, An Economic Analysis of the Good Roads Movement.


[9] Lauren Cox, “Who Invented the Car?” Live Science, accessed April 4, 2017.


[10] History Channel, “Model T – Facts & Summary,” accessed April 3, 2017.


[11] Joy, Transcontinental Trails, 161.


[12] Stephanie Christensen, “The Great Migration (1915-1960),” The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed. accessed April 3, 2017,


[13] Ibid.


[14] Ibid.


[15] Ibid.


[16] “United Automobile Workers Union Hits Jim-Crow,” The Wyandotte Echo, May 7, 1937, (Missouri).


[17] Ibid.
[18] Bart Landry, The New Black Middle Class, (Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1987), 21.


[19] US Department of Labor: Division of Negro Economics, Negro Migration in 1916-17, 1919.


[20] Ibid.


[21] Ibid.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Bart Landry, The New Black Middle Class, 23-24.

[24] E.L. Dorsey, “Automotive Section,” The California Eagle, June 13, 1924, vol. 38 no. 7 ed., California Eagle [microform].


[25] Kathleen Franz, “’The Open Road’: Automobility and Racial Uplift in the Interwar Years,” In Technology and the African-American Experience, ed. by Bruce Sinclair, (Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2004), 132.


[26] W.E.B. DuBois, “The Crisis Advertiser,” The Crisis, September 1916, 52,


[27] Kevin Gaines, Uplifting the Race: Black Leadership, Politics, and Culture in the Twentieth Century, (Chapel Hill, North Carolina: UNC Press Books, 2012), 3.


[28] Kathleen Franz, ‘The Open Road,’132.


[29] Robert Russa Moton, What the Negro Thinks, (New York City, New York: Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc, 1929), 37.


[30] Gretchen Sullivan-Sorin, “‘Keep Going’: African Americans on the Road in the Era of Jim Crow: Abstract,” ProQuest Document View: State University of New York at Albany, Accessed April 1, 2017.


[31] Cotton Seiler, “‘So That We as a Race Might Have Something Authentic to Travel By’: African American Automobility and Cold-War Liberalism.” American Quarterly 58, no. 4 (2006): 1092. doi:10.1353/aq.2007.0015


[32] Kathleen Franz, ‘The Open Road,’ 133.


[33] Sullivan-Sorin, ‘Keep Going.


[34] Melnotte Wade, “That Auto of Mine,” The Champion, January 1916, 258.


[35] Arthur Franklin Raper, Preface to Peasantry: A Tale of Two Black Belt Counties, (Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, 1936), 175.


[36] W.E.B. DuBois, “The Horizon.” The Crisis 15, November 1917, 32.


[37] Victor Green, The Negro Motorist Green Book, (New York City, New York: Victor Hugo Green, 1938), 11, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, The New York Public Library, accessed February 04, 2017,


[38] Victor Green, The Negro Motorist Green Book, (Harlem, New York: Victor Hugo Green, 1939), 29, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, The New York Public Library. accessed February 04, 2017.


[39] Paul Mullins, “Vacationing and the African-American Dream,” Archaeology and Material Culture, accessed April 6, 2017,


[40] E.L. Dorsey, “Where Will You Spend Your Vacation,” The California Eagle, June 13, 1924, vol. 38 no. 7 ed., California Eagle [microform].


[41] Ronald Stephens, “Buckroe Beach, Hampton, Virginia (1890- ),” The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed, accessed February 26, 2017,


[42] Ibid.


[43] Ibid.


[44] Paul Mullins, Vacationing.


[45] “At Last a Resort for Colored People,” Indianapolis Recorder, March 18, 1916.


[46] DuBois, W.E.B. “Hopkinsville, Chicago and Idlewild.” The Crisis, August 1921, 158–160.


[47] Paul Mullins, “Mapping the Black Road: Segregated Driving and the Indianapolis Roadside,” Archaeology and Material Culture, Accessed February 13, 2017.


[48] Franz, ’The Open Road,’ 132.


[49] Yurii Horton, and Raagen Price and Eric Brown, “Portrayal of Minorities in the Film, Media and Entertainment Industries,” Ethics of Development in a Global Environment, Media, and Race, accessed May 7, 2017,


[50] Franz, ‘The Open Road,’ 132.


[51] Ibid.


[52] Ibid.

[53] Ibid.


[54] Raper, Preface to Peasantry, 176.


[55] Ibid, 170.


[56] James Loewen, Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism,” (New York City, New York The New Press, 2005), 1-2.


[57] Ibid.


[58] Ibid.

[59] Ibid.


[60] “Sundown Towns.” Beautiful, Also, Are the Souls of My Black Sisters (Blog), January 8, 2008.


[61] Victor Green, The Negro Motorist Green Book, (New York City, New York: Victor Hugo Green, 1949), 3, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, The New York Public Library, accessed February 04, 2017,


[62] “Vacation & Recreation Without Humiliation,” ProQuest Blog, February 22, 2016,–Recreation-Without-Humiliation.html


[63] Maria Goodavage. “‘Green Book’ Helped Keep African Americans Safe on the Road,” PBS: Independent Lens, accessed April 4, 2013,


[64] Green, The Green Book 1949, 1


[65] Goodavage, Keep African Americans Safe on the Road.


[66] Victor Green, The Negro Motorist Green Book, (New York City, New York: Victor Hugo Green, 1947), cover, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, The New York Public Library. Accessed February 04, 2017.


[67] Victor Green, The Negro Motorist Green Book, (New York City, New York: Victor Hugo Green, 1957), cover, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, The New York Public Library. Accessed February 04, 2017.


[68] Mullins, Mapping the Black Road.


[69] “‘Vacation & Recreation Without Humiliation,’” ProQuest Blog, accessed February 19, 2017,–Recreation-Without-Humiliation.html


[70] Victor Green, The Negro Motorist Green Book, (New York City, New York: Victor Hugo Green, 1955), 1, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, The New York Public Library. Accessed February 04, 2017.


[71] Victor Green, The Negro Motorist Green Book, (New York City, New York: Victor Hugo Green, 1956), 3, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, The New York Public Library. Accessed February 04, 2017.


[72] Goodavage, Keep African Americans Safe on the Road.

[73] Mary Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011), pg. 250.


[74] Ibid, 250.


[75] Ibid, 250.

[76] Cotton Seiler, “‘So That We as a Race Might Have Something Authentic to Travel By’: African American Automobility and Cold-War Liberalism.” American Quarterly 58, no. 4 (2006): 1092. doi:10.1353/aq.2007.0015


[77] Citizensource, “Civil Rights Act of 1964: Public Accommodation,” Citizensource, accessed March 30, 2017,


[78] Ibid.


[79] Ibid.






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