Join award-winning author, photographer, and cultural documentarian Candacy Taylor for the launch of Overground Railroad, the first book to explore the historical role and residual impact of the Green Book, a travel guide for black motorists. Candacy is also the curator of the forthcoming Smithsonian Exhibition “The Negro Motorist Green Book” for which Overground Railroad will be the official catalog.
Columbus Bar Association is Gramercy’s Community Partner for this program.
Published from 1936 to 1967, the Green Book was hailed as the “bible of black travel.” At that time, it was very dangerous and difficult for African Americans to travel because they couldn’t eat, sleep, or buy gas at most white-owned businesses. The Green Book listed hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and other establishments that were safe for black travelers. It was a resourceful and innovative solution to a horrific problem.
It took courage to be listed in the Green Book, and Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America celebrates the stories of those who put their names in it and stood up against segregation. Taylor’s book covers Victor Green’s founding of the guide and discusses how its content and history represents America itself, how the sites and businesses it featured have changed over the years, and how the untold story of black travel reflects African Americans’ struggle and triumph against incredible odds. Overground Railroad offers readers a rich opportunity to reexamine America’s history of segregation, how we arrived at our present historical moment, and how far we still have to go when it comes to race relations in America.
Candacy Taylor’s work has been featured in more than 50 media outlets including the New Yorker and the Atlantic. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships and grants including those from the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She lives in Harlem, New York.