Young, gifted, and traveling

CNN ran a story yesterday about a near-forgotten piece of 20th-century African-American history.

Victor Green, a resident of Harlem came up with the idea for a travel book to prevent African-Americans from being "humiliated" (his word) while on the road.

"The Green Book," as it was known, was first published in 1936. Initially, it pointed out friendly restaurants and hotels in New York. It eventually expanded to include everything from lodging and gas stations to tailor shops and doctor's offices across the nation, as well as in Bermuda, Mexico and Canada.

You can find copies of various editions of the book on the Internet. The 1949 edition included shops and restaurants in Boston and other Massachusetts' cities.

Below, names and addresses of several beauty salons, barbers, and "tourist homes" for those visiting the South End. A second column included several Roxbury locales. (Even then, the dividing line between the two neighborhoods was an open question.)

The only place remaining as-is, today, is Charlie's sandwich shop, at 429 Columbus Ave. Estelle's, at 888 Tremont Street, was still around (at least the name on the building) until just a couple years ago.


More: Travel guide helped African-Americans navigate tricky times, CNN

Also: The Negro Motorist Green Book, 1949 edition (warning, .pdf)

And: South End jazz: An invisible tradition, Boston - City in Transition (Emerson College)



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I think Slades is still around too as well.

It was there 10 days ago

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"Tito Jackson celebrated the preliminary election results for Boston City Council District 7 with his supporters at Slade's in Roxbury." -- Boston Globe, February 16, 2011 (according to Google News).

By the way, the historical dividing line between Boston (South End) and Roxbury was at 921 Tremont St., putting Slade's on the Roxbury side of the line. This was the pre-annexation boundary between the city of Boston and the city of Roxbury, and it is still the U. S. Postal Service boundary between 02118 and 02120. The boundary was/is also at 650 Columbus Ave., 2000 Washington St., 960 Harrison Ave., and 800 Albany St. It's irregular because it follows a couple of old creeks that were filled in many years ago.

Very cool!

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Thanks for sharing!

Made me think of the Michelin Vert, but I'm guessing there is no real relation. :)

The gay

There was/is a similar guide for the gay community, called the Damron Guide. Less a guide to where to go and where not to, it's a book about gay-owned / gay-friendly hotels, guest houses, bars, clubs, community centers, etc. (And, by etc., I mean ... etc.) Not necessary in the big cities, of course, but very helpful when traveling the byways and highways of the U.S.

There's also the Pink Pages, which I believe is locally owned.

And Purple Roofs

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Yeah, Pink Pages is locally owned. We've found some great contractors and stuff through there.

Also Purple Roofs, which is useful for finding B&Bs and things. Each listing lists "clientele welcomed" and they can choose from gay men, lesbians, bisexual, transgender, straight. A lot of places list that they welcome everyone but trans, so then we don't go there even if we don't have any trans people in our party, because wtf is that shit? Also wonder about the places that list everyone but straight.


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Thanks for this. It inspires me to take a walk around to visit some of the sites in whatever form they're in now.