tv Green Book Travel Guide for African Americans CSPAN February 16, 2019 12:00pm-12:25pm EST
struggling to establish the appropriate limits of legislative and executive power, and confronting with new thank you. [applause] >> american history tv will be live with the 93rd annual black history luncheon hosted by the association for the study of african american history. is black's theme migrations. we will hear about the journey that africans made to the new world, and about the northern and western movements of 20th century african-americans.
ago that0 years enslaved africans first arrived in the virginia colony. that is live today, beginning at 1215 p.m. eastern. we will hear from one of the speakers at the luncheon, the university of delaware's tiffany gill. she talks about the green book, a travel guide for african-americans produced during the jim crow era. >> tiffany gill is a professor of history and african-american studies at the university of delaware. let's go back to post-world war ii america. what was it like for african americans to travel in the u.s. and around the world? prof. gill: it was a really experience for african americans. african americans knew what they would face when they traveled domestically.
whether there was a law that would prevent them from going to certain places of business, whether it was trying to find something to eat while they were on the road and being denied service. for example if you were driving , and your car rent out of gas and you were in a community hostile to african-americans, what would you do then. there was a great deal of uncertainty even as air travel becomes more popular. african-americans begin traveling globally how would you , be treated in an airport? what would be seating pattern be on an airplane? african-americans were seeing large groups wanting to hit the road. the post-world war ii area was the golden era of a family vacation, but it was filled with uncertainty. would they land in a sundown town, a place where african-americans were legally prohibited from being after dark? this was not just in the south, but across america and indeed, around the world.
>> it was not that long ago and yet some would say so different. prof. gill: some would question how different. there are still challenges when african-americans are on the road. would they face certain harassment from the police or even just a couple weeks ago at a doubletree hotel in portland, oregon. african-american man was in the lobby calling his mother and security called police to come get him. we do live in a different world. many of the challenges mirror the ones that african-americans face after world war two, but many of the vestiges of this kind of harassment are things african-american still face today. >> white soldiers served black soldiers, harry truman desegregated the military. prof. gill: that's actually in 1948. >> right, did that change the perception of the post-world war ii baby-boom generation?
prof. gill: there certainly were a lot of challenges. when we talk about the civil rights era that emerges is the 1950's, a lot of it is about the heightened expectation african americans, particularly those coming out of the war, the heightened expectation that after they had served their country honorably, to come back home to a country where their own citizenship rights were still being denied was something that began to leads to the intensification of activism in the 1950's. what we see is african-americans are becoming more involved politically. the backlash is also intensifying in that time. >> what was the green book? prof. gill: it was an interesting travel guide. it was a pocket-size travel guide you could take with you when you're traveling, when you are on the airplane, going in your car and it was started by a man named victor green in 1937. he was a postman, worked for the
postal service in harlem, and actually had experience -- he and his wife were traveling and he faced discrimination and uncertainty about where would be safe to stay. he came back home, and with his knowledge as a postman, he created a guide for new york city. and actually a guide to places in new york city where it would be safer african-americans, whether it was going to a restaurant, a nightclub, even beauty salons and barbershops. he creates this guide for new york and expands it to include the entire nation and even international destinations. in it, you have places where it would be safe to lodge. cities where it would be safe for you to stay. it would have the names of black-owned businesses and white owned as nurses that were friendly to african-americans. it would also include a list of the segregation laws in the community so african-americans would be quick to know how to navigate them, as well as the
number for an attorney in case they got into trouble. it was a travel guide, but one that had practical needs to help african-americans delegate spaces that could be unsafe for them. >> so much has changed, get there is still so much racism in this country. when you teach this period to your students, what is their take away? what do they think about the entry, 1945, 1955, early 1960's? prof. gill: they see so much of the resonance that happens today. what is disheartening is the world doesn't seem completely forum -- foreign to them. visuale startled by the markers of a segregated society. but a lot of what they talk about are the on written rules -- unwritten rules that people of color often have to face when going to leisure spaces or wondering about how they will be treated.
it is interesting how they deal with these issues today. >> why do we have racism? why is it such a permanent scar in our culture today? prof. gill: i don't have the answer for why. it is in the fabric of our country, so our very political institutions, our economic institutions have been created on this bedrock of american racism. that has been with the culture from its beginning. we talk about it. it's not just a matter of interpersonal relations. but really it has to do with an much bigger problem of systematic injustice. in many ways, we are trying to do the -- undo the fabric of
america. it's a very daunting project. i do not necessarily think this is something that has to indoor. -- in doer. to theesign ourselves , perhaps this can help us commit to see its undoing. >> were you able to get oral histories of people, the stigma, the racism they in counts does they traveled the country? prof. gill: absolutely. when i talk to people about my topic, they always have a story about whether it was a car trip as a child, and their parents making sure they had enough food in the car and the kids seeing things on the side of the road. hey, can we stop for soda or candy and their parents having to explain, it would not be safe to do so. or whether it's the fear of people would be pulled over by cops and be questioned.
the issue of harassment was one of the things the green book talks about is how to travel without embarrassment. how to navigate without these indignities. i think a lot of those memories are with people who are very much alive with us today. the history is not ancient history. it's a living history for many. >> does the movie capture what happened? prof. gill: i think one of the things the film "the green book" does capture, it captures the fears african-americans had when they went into new spaces. where the movie falls short in is bringing to life the businesses the green book featured, which were often wonderful. in the film, the businesses that patronize for african-americans were often rundown and that's
really know what the dream book -- green book was focusing on. it was actually a place to showcase black businesses and what they were able to offer. it was a little disturbing to me that none of the black characters in the film engage with the green book guide. it's the white characters talking about the guide and using it. mihink it's a real messed -- ssed opportunity to be able to showcase what this guide, and many guides like it that existed at the time, what they meant for african-americans, how they work showcased, and how african-americans used it to be able to enjoy themselves, to go on vacation, to go to restaurants, and try to provide a place without fears of humiliation. >> you are showcasing this year in chicago at the american historical association. what is your message to historians? prof. gill: what is really fascinating to me and exciting to me is the resurgence of
interest in the green book guides. for example, the new york public library, the schomburg center for research in black culture has digitized 22 of the guides from 1930 seven until 1967. there was a break during world war ii where they were not published. there has been a lot of new commentary about the green book. one of the things i having dashcam engaged with is looking at the international component. there's a lot of tension. but this research is looking at the promise and the perils of traveling internationally since world war i. it's also how these feature in international destinations. starting in 1949, they feature throughout bermuda, the caribbean to help african-americans find places that would be hospitable to them
as well. part of my research is getting us to think about how can we think about this document, not only what it tells us about domestic travel, but international travel for african-americans as well. >> let me take it one step further. african soldiers, white soldiers, working in factories during the war, did it begin to change or was it in evolution on how women were viewed, how african-americans were viewed post-world war ii? prof. gill: things begin to change, but not in the sense of a natural evolution. because african-americans, women are pressing forward. one thing i would share with my students is progress is never inevitable. it's never inevitable in the sense that any time we press forward it's because of the intensification of these groups.
so world war ii emboldened african-americans. it gives them new strategies. we talk about this in my research -- in europe, they were treated much better than when they came home to their own communities. they would go to europe and often found a racial template where african-americans were not viewed in negative ways, but would come back and not be able to find a job, would not be able to get a business loan, not be able to have educational opportunities, even though they were able to access the g.i. bill. it's that expectation, the demonstration of service, coming home and facing a world that was not warm to them is part of what really begins to emboldened -- and we think of the 1950's and the 1960's and the civil rights battles, those would have been impossible if not for
african-american experiences in world war ii. >> the election and reelection of the first african-american president, a record number of african-american women in the house of representatives. how does that impact were we are today? prof. gill: it is one of the things were we can look and see that progress is being made, but it is also more than empty representation. the struggle continues. it continues in a different way than in the post world to era, -- world war ii era, but certainly many of the issues around economics, job discrimination, and humiliation that exist. it's about the battle continuing. progress can be made, but there's nothing to keep it secure, unless people fight for that. that is one of the things where people look at the history of
african-americans, that is one of the things most clear to them. rights and equality should always be reserved. >> your passion is evident in our conversation. prof. gill: i try, i do. for me, this is not just teaching or writing but this is , work for survival, work for informing a better citizenry to muslim passionate about what i do. >> you have answered in part. what is this what you do? prof. gill: for the history of african-americans, there is so much in the larger american narrative, so much that we take for granted are things that african-americans have been denied and because they have been denied, i think african-americans particularly speak most clearly about what america truly is and what america truly should be. for me it's this history of
struggle, pain, but also great triumph and creativity. i think the green book guide is a way where african-americans took something that was a difficult situation, but took something to help them survive, but showcases the businesses that are important in their communities. >> have you personally felt the sting of racism? prof. gill: absolutely. i do not know there's an african-american person who hasn't. it's part of the world in which we live. it is part of why i teach. and it's part of why, by engaging in this history, people will ask different questions, be able to understand this history, the more sympathetic to what african-americans face. and ultimately, because most of my students are not african-american, think about what their role could be. what is the most important thing you learned, and what we you do with what you learned?
for me, this is work that is supposed to be put into action so perhaps there will come a time when not everybody will say that. >> are we getting better? prof. gill: yes, absolutely. it's a different world. things are better. i do not think we should rest on better. i think we should rest on justice. >> professor tiffany the gill of delaware university. thank you for your time. prof. gill: thank you. >> good morning, american history tv is live from the washington renaissance hotel with the black history luncheon. speakers at the luncheon include columbia university, tiffany a radio host. each year, there is a black history theme. this year is black migrations.
sinceear marks 400 years slaves arrived in the virginia colony in 1619. we will hear about the northern and western movement of 20th century african-americans. founded in 1915. he was the second african-american to own a phd at harvard university. he was founder and editor of the knee growth history bulletin and author of more than 30 books, including the miss education of the knee growth, published in 1933 and still in print today. startingdited with black history month. it started as knee growth history week in 1926. he chose february to honor frederick douglass and abraham lincoln. both were born in february.
the annual black history luncheon with discussions on black migrations by a professor from columbia university. -- watchill and american history tv this weekend on c-span3. >> to our nearly 100 new members of the u.s. house this year, including i am a presley. she won the democratic primary last year. previously served as an at-large member of the boston city council. this isn't her first experience. kennedyed with joseph and john kerry. she served as a chief of staff in the early 2000's.
wasr to her election, she ceo of a consulting firm. chris pappas has been involved in state and local politics since the early 2000's. he served to terms in the state house. he is the first openly gay person elected to congress by new hampshire voters. hayes came to national attention when president obama named her the 2016 teacher of the year at a white house ceremony. she is only the second african-american to represent connecticut in congress. the first was a republican who represented the fifth district. new congress, new leaders. watch it all on c-span.
the photos?seen the senate historian at richard baker says there are mesmerizing photographs. it's the ultimate insider tour. to order your copy of the senate shipping,18.95 plus /senatebook.span.org >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, cspan was created as a public service of the american cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider.
>> beale street could talk received three oscar nominations, for original score, screenplay, and supporting actress. we will discuss the movie based on the 1974 james baldwin movie with the with it -- question post at it. >> i thought it was beautiful. the thing that really sticks with you is just how lovely the film is. writing really does deal with love, whether it universal love, loving one's self, love between people and society. i think that's the overarching theme. a lot of people see him because he was so passionate in fighting
for the rights of african-americans that sometimes people mistake that for anger. angry, butwas not forceful in his denunciation of racism. c-span's washington journal, live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. morning, a discussion of the border wall panel and the reelection. donna brazil talks about campaign 2020 and the direction of the democratic party. the brookings institute will be on to talk about the future of the united states role in afghanistan. watch washington journal, live at 7:00 eastern on sunday morning. join the discussion.