He Wrote The Book On Saving Black Lives, Literally

a black family in front of a gas station
Leslie Taylor-Grover
November 5, 2022

Victor Hugo Green was tired. Across the nation, our families were more affluent and finally traveling a lot more. But for some of us, travel came at a horrible cost.

White terrorism and racism often kept many Black people from staying at good hotels, eating at nice establishments, or even getting gas. This inability to access basic services was both inconvenient and dangerous. Green decided to take action.

Green was a traveler himself, and he often kept a personal list of establishments that were safe for Black travelers. His idea was simple: he would collect this information across the nation and make it available to Black travelers.

Green’s work, known as the Green Book, sold thousands of copies a year. For decades, it made traveling easier for our people and saved thousands of lives, because we could avoid the places where white terrorism ran rampant.

Green used his skill set to help our people during a time of economic gain and violent white reactions. As his work shows, there is always a role for our creativity and care in our communities. Sometimes we have to get innovative to defend ourselves against racists who would rather see us dead.

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