Perhaps it’s fitting to start 2023 with the letter “E,” since we are EXCITED, EAGER and ENTHUSED to start another year with the ABC life. Without it, we would definitely have missed out on experiences, restaurants, books, films, facts and places.
New activity: Exhibition on “The Green Book”
We recently read that the Irving Archives and Museum was hosting a new exhibition focused on “The Green Book,” the annual guide that provided African American travelers with information on gas stations, restaurants, stores and lodging that welcomed Black travelers.
While we had both seen the movie The Green Book, we didn’t know much about the actual book. The exhibit focused both on the man, Victor Hugo Green, who created the book in 1936 and on the various businesses that were owned and operated solely by African Americans. The only businesses they showed that were integrated were an Esso Station (later becoming ExxonMobil) and a dude ranch/hotel that allowed people of any color to use their services.
This travel guide was an essential tool during the Jim Crow era. Naturally, there was evidence in the exhibit of the fear and apprehension experienced by Black travelers, the horrible humiliation and prejudice shown to the them and the physical violence they encountered, but it also conveyed the resilience and elegance of people who opted to live a full life rather than allow themselves to be limited by others.
We remember when watching the film through 21st century eyes, how we thought it was awful that the Green Book existed because of what it represented, but the exhibit made us realize that it was just as important to remember how this book offered Black people “dignity and respect in a segregated America.”