His Invention Saved Thousands Of Black Lives

Black family in front of store
Leslie Taylor-Grover
April 19, 2021

Victor Hugo Green was tired. Across the nation, our people were growing 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. Would it work, though?

Absolutely! Green’s work, known as the Green Book, sold thousands of copies a year. For decades, it not only made traveling easier for our people, but it also saved thousands of lives – because we knew and 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 for our people. Sometimes we have to get innovative to defend ourselves against racists who would harm us!

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